Fridge horror for The Apple

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Vandervecken, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    Depends on the episode. "The Omega Glory" says explicitly that the safety of the ship is not sufficient reason to violate the Prime Directive, but many other eps don't take it to that extreme.

    Remember, they were making this up as they went along.
     
  2. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold
    I agree with your first point. And in that instance (preserving a federation ship and/or the lives of federation citizens), it's not a violation at all. The PD simply does not apply in save-the-ship instances, or save-the-planet instances as in "For the World Is Hollow..."

    But I don't agree with the general consensus I'm reading here that the PD applies only to "growing" or "natural" civilizations/cultures. The whole point of the PD is that these are ALIEN civilizations and we, as a race/culture/civilization alien to them, can't really make value judgments along the lines of "you need to change because of X." I'd say Spock had it right when he pointed out that this (Gamma Trianguli 6) was a viable culture. It's far more likely that the generally regulation-adhering Mr. Spock was hewing closer to the PD's intent than Kirk ever would. IMO, Kirk was making that judgment up in "Return of the Archons" to suit himself, not quoting or paraphrasing from any codicil of the PD. The events of "Return of the Archons" that occurred after O'Neil had been recovered were, to me, a flagrant PD violation.

    What all that intra-episode talk about the PD simply glossed over was that the PD didn't apply anyway; whatever they did, they had to stop Vaal from destroying the Enterprise, and realistically that meant destroying Vaal.

    Now, do I really care? Nope. I enjoy watching Kirk-the-computer/machine-destroyer work his particular form of artistry as much as the next Trekker.
     
  3. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold
    Well, as you say, I think The Omega Glory was before they'd really thought it through.
     
  4. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold
    But they never do, and no one is ever called to account for not sacrificing their ship and/or world to avoid contaminating another world.

    Look at it this way: if we take this reasoning to its conclusion, then Starfleet would have no right to protect itself from, say, the Borg, because when the Borg assimilate, they are specifically plying not just any characteristic, but one of the defining characteristics of their culture. Who are we to deny them the fulfillment of their culture, by resisting being assimilated?

    For that matter, the Klingons might have made the same argument, saying they're a warrior-expansionist culture and how dare we try to stop them from conquering? PD violation!

    If a federation ship with over 400 hands is in danger of being destroyed, that's a military situation, even if writ small compared to interstellar war, and the PD does not apply.
     
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    But that way makes no sense. There's not enough potential energy in baskets of fruit to do what Vaal is shown to do. Some kind of high-energy yielding material like the rocks (assume it's something like uranium or something) to do what the story requires.

    "Poor Spock" has it a infinitely better than the record number of redshirts nailed in this episode!


    Which would be the case if that's how it was applied, but in original Star Trek it was only used in reference to non-spacegoing cultures. Once they're out their in space they're going to meet other cultures on their own and that's going to have an impact, so at that point they are "peers". But before that the idea is that WE don't go mess with them and change the "natural" development of their culture. That TNG turned in into crazy "we can save them without them knowing, but we won't" is not germane to Star Trek unless you want to retcon it,
     
  6. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold
    So you're saying that if a civilization isn't spacegoing, it can exercise as much military force as it wants against any federation vessel with impunity? And always have their actions at least be legally protected by the PD?

    I think at this point, the weapon or method of attack is separated from the "civilization." Vaal IS the weapon, not the entirety of the civilization, people of some sort are required in this instance.

    I can't conceive of Starfleet ever giving a captaincy to a single officer they believed would say (or when they said) "sure, I'll sacrifice my ship if it comes under attack, for the sake of the PD!"

    Also, the builders of Vaal probably WERE spacegoing.

    I'm just saying you can't put a big, spaceship-threatening gun on a planet, shoot at passing ships, and hide behind the PD, whether you have spacegoing capabilities or not. It might even be that technically, as read, the PD says yes you can. But in the real world of enforcement, it doesn't happen. The Feds aren't suicidal, or we wouldn't have Section 31 or the majority of Starfleet captains who place their ships and crews first, last, and always.

    As for that retcon, I'm not sure of the point you're making--it doesn't obviate mine which is that once genuinely threatening military force is in play, spacegoing or not, the PD takes a back seat to self- and ship preservation. But I sure won't defend that retcon. I'm just not sure what you mean by the "we won't" part. If they (Starfleet) don't actually do anything, then there's no PD violation, for all the chin music. What episodes are you thinking of in TNG?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  7. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Well ... as Vaal isn't a vegetarian, after all, it's all a moot point, really. I wasn't concerned about the science of it. I certainly wasn't prepared to give it this much thought, but if Vaal had run on veggies, they could've been fermented into a biofuel of some sort. But the whole planet of sweet, innocent, white-haired Humans in carnaval paint is so charming to begin with, I was perfectly willing to accept veggetarian Vaal, regardless.

    It just seemed like something these people would do - literally feed Vaal with food, like what they ate - so in "commune" would they feel with their "living" lord and master. I don't require STAR TREK to be scientifically accurate with its storylines, especially when not doing so adds to the charm, or "alien" aspects, frankly, to the proceedings. But, Vaal does eat rocks, so ... whatcha gonna do, I guess.
     
  8. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    North Wales
    Many years ago (long before the truth about the rocks became clear) I assumed that the "food" being offered to Vaal was simply that - an offering by the villagers to their god. Vaal's true power source was obviously greater and had to come from somewhere else.
     
  9. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Now, see ... that works. I like that idea, alot. Considering that the ENTERPRISE shot phasers to kill it, anyway, it didn't really matter how Vaal was "fueled" up. Having the natives bringing token tributes only adds to their perceived innocence, in my view. But hey, if exploding rocks gets Vaal's motor hummin' ... at least the HARD SCIENCE is in play!
     
  10. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold
    And here's another potential weapon just waiting to be reverse engineered by some enterprising Romulan, Ferengi, Breen, what have you. Not the tractor beam, that's standard tech for many known species--whatever was like "a pail of cold water on a fire," as Scotty put it, to the antimatter pods.

    Since Starfleet ships are antimatter-core propelled, this would be an incredible weapon to turn on the Feds. Put it on a ship, behind better shields than Vaal had, and your Starfleet opponent is dead in the water, so to speak. The Romulans, though, singularity powered, presumably would have nothing to worry about. Although for all we know Vaal's energy-quenching device would have worked on their systems as well.

    Just sayin'.
     
  11. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    You know, I flirted with the idea that the "feeding" business was just a ritual intended to give the Vaalians' lives some structure, but the episode does suggest that Vaal is weakened somehow when Kirk stops the natives from feeding him . . . .

    But, yeah, the latter notion would have made more sense.
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    Its very clear that the Enterprise straining against Vaal's influence taps its power reserves, which is why it demands dinner, and why Kirk stops the natives, since a weakened Vaal is less likely to survive a phaser bombardment.
     
  13. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2013
    Location:
    CommishSleer
    The idea that Vaal is weakened because his followers aren't demonstrating their devotion is sort of a romantic idea. That a god is weakened without worshipers.

    The reality that Vaal is actually being fueled by his followers in a symbiotic relationship is a little less appealing to me but more realistic. Of course then comes the question of why have this clumsy set-up in the first place. If I were Vaal I would have heaps of reserves for the proverbial rainy day.
     
  14. Dennis

    Dennis The Man Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Location:
    Under the Great Blue Sky
    I don't know how anyone gets past the utter nonsense of the premise: a computer so powerful that it can actually control and direct planetary weather from moment to moment which is completely dependent for its power supply upon being fed some fresh fruit every few days.
     
  15. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    I believe they were feeding it the explosive rocks, but otherwise, yeah, totally.

    Plus, the episode suffers from what I think of as "small planet syndrome": everything relevant to the entire planet takes place around the one beam-down site.
     
  16. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State

    That's right, it was explosive rocks Vaal needed so often. To be fair, they were only "five hour energy" explosive rocks.

    And I didn't have a name for it, but small planet syndrome is a peeve of mine. It happens whenever we're dealing with pre-industrial natives. In "Errand of Mercy" and "Friday's Child," village elders are treated like planetary rulers and preposterously given the right to decide things they do not understand.
     
  17. Chemahkuu

    Chemahkuu Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Ulster
    Pretty sure no highly complex piece of machinary is going to react well to throwing the equivalent of dynamite down it's throat.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Well, I wouldn't go that far. Pre-industrial doesn't mean stupid. Besides, we give Congress the right to decide things they don't understand, whenever scientific issues come up for a vote.

    And what was it exactly that the Teers of the Ten Tribes of Capella were incapable of understanding? The Federation's agreement with them was for the rights to mine ore in their territory. Anyone beyond the Stone Age can understand that. Presumably they negotiated with that particular population because they had the land where the topaline mines were.
     
  19. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2013
    Location:
    Will be Celebrating Spocktoberfest this year!
    I know there really isn't anything to support this, but I always thought the natives were geneticly engineered and grown by Vaal. If they need a replacement, it clones out another one.

    But of course that isn't the writer's premise, otherwise of all of the thousands of things that Kirk could have noticed when seeing the village, first thing out of no where is " where are the children?" I find that assinine. Then the whole "biology" discussion in the hut. Ugh. Those parts really kill this for me, whether it's stones or melons the horned gorn eats (Vaal).
     
  20. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    Location:
    Foxhot
    The look on Spock's face as he drops from the thorns rather takes the drama out of it. One of Nimoy's few unintentionally silly moments.