First Xindi attack made no sense

Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by MarsWeeps, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. MarsWeeps

    MarsWeeps Captain Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Location:
    SubSpace
    I just finished re-watching season 3 of Enterprise. Back when it was on the air, I never really cared for the whole Xindi arc. While watching it again, I realized that it never really made any sense for the Xindi to send the first mini-weapon that killed 7 million people.

    What was the point? Why tip off earth that there was a race out there that was planning on destroying the planet? The Xindi could have tested it somewhere else without anyone knowing and when they had the real planet killer weapon ready, they could have destroyed the earth in one shot.

    Yeah, I know the writers had to somehow set up the whole story but it's just one of those things that makes me shake my head.
     
  2. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    inside teacake
    You know this is very true. Maybe some Xindi was just super impatient to hurt Earth? But yeah they could have tested the thing on a moon in their own system and taken Earth by surprise.
     
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    #istandwithcbs
    They were making it up as they went along:shrug:
    I like to think the Sphere Builders pushed them to attack early - since they wanted Earth's timeline disrupted ASAP.

    I have heard someone suggest it was also a test of the hyperspace vortex drive thingie they used to get it to Earth. No use building a clockwork Death Star and then losing it in transit!
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  4. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    inside teacake
    KingDaniel saves ENT from the black plot hole!!

    :D
     
  5. MarsWeeps

    MarsWeeps Captain Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Location:
    SubSpace

    Well the Sphere Builders had the ability to go back in time (remember they sent a few Xindi back to Detroit in 2004 to develop a bio weapon) so time shouldn't have been a problem.

    They could have tested the hyperspace vortex by sending a simple probe, no need to send a mini weapon and announce their intentions.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I recall something my father said once about how people tend to have blind spots about their enemies. The thing is, we all know that if our own country (whatever that may be) were attacked or conquered, it would just fire up our anger and national pride and inspire us to fight back all the harder. Yet somehow, countries throughout history have tended to assume that the same would not be true for their enemies, because their enemies are inferior and craven and would thus be cowed into submission by a show of force. So countries keep attacking or oppressing their enemies in the belief that it will defeat and demoralize them, but it usually has the opposite effect and backfires upon the attackers or oppressors. So Imperial Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and as a result we dismantle the empire; and conversely, the CIA helps overthrow a populist Iranian leader in favor of a US-friendly dictator, and as a result there's a populist revolution that turns Iran into one of our biggest enemies. Not to mention all the dictatorial regimes that have oppressed and terrorized their own people in the belief that it would keep them docile, only to provoke them into revolution instead.

    You'd think that eventually people would learn to expect this sort of thing, to know that attacking or oppressing another nation -- or their own people -- would just backfire and lead to their defeat or overthrow. Yet century after century, people still don't get the message. They still assume that the other guy will react differently to threat or oppression than they themselves would, that the same things that would inspire themselves to greater determination and rage would instead break their enemies' spirits and leave them defeated forever. It's a bizarre but perennial blind spot.

    So maybe that's why the Xindi attacked Earth with the test probe rather than some uninhabited moon somewhere -- because they thought it would demoralize humanity and leave us too afraid to strike back. It doesn't make sense, but then, it never has before, yet people keep trying it anyway. It's just the blind spot of xenophobia, the assumption that your enemy is fundamentally different from yourself and doesn't have the same virtues such as courage or patriotism or love for family to inspire them to fight back.

    Philosophy aside, there's also the fact that Earth would never have known where the attack came from, or where to find the Xindi, if Future Guy hadn't tipped off Archer. So as far as the Xindi knew, Earth should've been unable to identify or locate their attackers in time to prevent the final attack. So they would've deemed the risk of retaliation low enough to justify launching an attack for the purpose of demoralizing the enemy.
     
  7. Mach5

    Mach5 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Location:
    Mach5 @ the mothership
    What was the point of demoralizing your enemy if there was never going to be any actual fighting? Xindi weren't about to start a war, they were planning on wiping out humanity in one swift move.

    This "test" they conducted in "The Expanse" made absolutely no sense whatsoever. And I think Sphere builders, with their ability to inspect multiple timelines and all the possible outcomes, would have known that pulling a stunt like that could have jeopardized their whole game (as it did).
     
  8. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    Dang, now I have to think about ordering the series again, because that's when I started missing episodes!
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Is there ever a point to it? If you hate your enemy, you want to strike at them, hurt them. That desire can trump good sense, as history clearly shows. The Xindi had been taught to hate and fear humanity, so they wanted to terrorize us. It's the same as the point to torture, I guess. Countless studies have shown that torture is not a reliable means of gathering information, and in fact is counterproductive to that end; either torture victims will lie to end the suffering, or the trauma can actually impair their ability to remember information accurately. Yet governments still inflict torture on prisoners because they want to subjugate and abuse the people they hate, or just simply because it's a power trip.

    Human military decisions are not always rational. One could argue that if we were entirely rational, we'd rarely if ever wage war at all, because it's a really wasteful way to get anything done and the damage it does frequently outweighs any benefits. And more than a few battles and wars have been lost by sheer stupidity or arrogance. Think about the armies in WWI that were mowed down in ghastly numbers because European martial tradition and pride dictated that they stand and face the enemy openly, which left them as sitting ducks against the new technology of the machine gun. And it wasn't just in WWI; the Soviet advisors sent to China to assist the Communist rebels insisted on employing the same traditional, "honorable" tactics instead of the guerrilla warfare Mao advocated, and as a result, the Chinese Communists were virtually exterminated. Mao could see how irrational the Soviets' military tactics were, how completely inappropriate they were to the situation, but they couldn't see past their pride and cultural blind spots, so they failed.

    Now look at the Xindi Council, and at its most militant members, Commander Dolim and the Insectoids. They were pretty fanatical, not exactly prone to reason and caution. True, the councillors from the other three species were there to keep them in check, but all they needed was to convince one of the three to go along with them. So it's really rather understandable that the Council's military decisions could simply have been bad ones, at least occasionally.


    That's a good point. However, their timeline models seemed to shift only in response to things that had already happened in the present. And at the time the initial attack was approved, Future Guy hadn't yet intervened to alter events in Earth's favor. So the Sphere Builders' timeline models at that point wouldn't have taken Enterprise's involvement into account, and thus they might've concluded that the probability of success was sufficiently high to allow the test.
     
  10. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    ^^ Interesting... Enterprise did end it's series on a xenophobic note, which I thought was very appropriate given how recent first contact had occured. Though I doubt the writers/producers had planned that far ahead when they came up with the Xindi during season 2.

    Is that a joke in there somewhere? The Xindi... causing mass xenophobia? :P
     
  11. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    inside teacake
    You mean because of the X's?
     
  12. HopefulRomantic

    HopefulRomantic Phloxist Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    feeding the cats again
    It could be that the Xindi needed to test the weapon in "local Earth space" rather than "Expanse space." The space anomalies created by the spheres might have made space different enough in the Expanse that the Xindi felt a need to test the tech where it was supposed do do its damage, to make sure it would work properly.

    I think the idea already brought up about terrorizing and demoralizing the enemy with a first strike from an unknown origin, before delivering the final blow, makes sense too. Why waste all that thirst for vengeance on an instantaneous, virtually painless genocide, when you could also terrorize and torture the enemy, make them suffer, fill them with dread and paranoia?
     
  13. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    Star Trek often lifted names from other languages. Xindi is the name of a Chinese Township and a Chinese flute.

    DS9's Jem'Hadar could be adapted from Jemadar, in (Middle-Far Eastern) feudal times referring to a ranking soldier battling commoners on his lord's territories. It was also used as a rank in the British Indian Army.
     
  14. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Location:
    Great Britain
    ENT hardly ended on a Xenophobic note. Discounting TATV, and going with the Terra Prime as ENT's last storyline whilst the story was about Xenophobia. It didn't end the story at that. Rather we can do more together than seperate.
     
  15. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    inside teacake
    Very illogical if the purpose of destroying earth wasn't about vengeance but about protecting their own world from being destroyed. It just seems odd they would have so much bloodlust over something that hasn't actually happened yet.

    I blame it on the Reptilians. They were probably thrilled to be told that there was a future need for vengeance that they could do right now! In fact I bet the sphere builders tweaked how they told the story of the future destruction of the Xindi according to what race they were talking to.
     
  16. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    I think it would have worked better if the first attack wasn't meant to be a test, but the actual attack, but there was a flaw in the weapon and it malfunctioned after just a few seconds. So the Xindi had to build another weapon, but on a rushed timetable because now Earth had been warned.

    Reminds me of the two Death Stars in the Star Wars movies, in a way. :shifty:
     
  17. MarsWeeps

    MarsWeeps Captain Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Location:
    SubSpace
    That could have been one solution...at least it would have been more believable.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    What makes you think that the first attack was some sort of a "test"? Surely the intent was to exterminate mankind there and then, and the weapon seemed to be perfectly capable of doing just that - right until the point where it malfunctioned.

    Memory Alpha makes up all sorts of nonsense about the weapon being a "probe" that "self-destructed" after a successful mission, but none of that appears backed up by the actual aired stories. The Xindi just built a weapon intended to destroy Earth, and it failed; they built a second one, and Archer took it away from them; and they built a third one, and it either succeeded ("Twilight") or was thwarted at the last minute ("Zero Hour").

    Now, it's quite possible that the second weapon was just a test rig for the third one. But nothing suggests that the first one would have been a test rig, a prototype, or a shot in the dark. It was probably a well tested system with various prototypes preceding it - and despite all this, it just didn't deliver.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. MarsWeeps

    MarsWeeps Captain Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Location:
    SubSpace
    Because I just watched the entire 3rd season and it was referred to as "just a probe" numerous times.

    Here is one of the transcripts from the first episode of the 3rd season "The Xindi"

    [Xindi Council Chamber]
    HUMANOID: It could simply be a coincidence.
    REPTILIAN: You're being naive. Their planet is fifty light years away. It is not a coincidence.
    HUMANOID: How do you know your contacts gave you accurate information?
    INSECTOID: It's the beginning of an invasion. Hundreds of Earth ships will follow.
    HUMANOID: They have no way of knowing that we launched the probe.
    INSECTOID: We must destroy the vessel.
    REPTILIAN: How many humans are aboard?
    INSECTOID: It doesn't matter. They must be destroyed before they find the weapon.
    ARBOREAL: When will it be ready?
    DEGRA: The next series of tests is being prepared.
    REPTILIAN: You will accomplish nothing if all you do is run tests.
    ARBOREAL: We must be patient. We must follow the plan that we all agreed to.
    AQUATIC: Our future is at stake. This council mustn't be divided.
    HUMANOID: (to Reptilian) Learn everything you can about this human vessel.

    First they refer to "the probe" and later they refer to the actual "weapon."
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    None of that means the "probe" wasn't intended to destroy mankind. Its mission was a failure, that much every Xindi agrees on. But none of them directly refer to it as a test; it's only the "Proving Ground" hardware that is being used for test purposes.

    What qualifies as a "probe" in the Trek universe is really ambiguous. An apparent piloted mission to explore Saturn was a "probe"; an uncrewed mission across the galaxy was a "probe"; a space Nazi nuclear missile was a "probe"; use of sensors is called a "probe"...

    Memory Alpha seems to take the Future Guy at face value about the nature of the first Xindi attack. But haven't we learned better than to trust the Guy? Especially when he appears to be related to the very enemy that launched the attack..

    Timo Saloniemi
     

Share This Page