J.J. Abrams enters The Twilight Zone

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by HaplessCrewman, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Co-Founder of ISIS Moderator

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    I was talking about the span between Kirk taking the test and Saavik taking it in TWoK, which would have been around thirty years.

    And going from ST09, I would think cadets would be more inclined to talk around campus about the new, totally unfair (from their perspective) unwinable test they had to take, much like McCoy was with Kirk. After a long time it becomes like old hat and a traditional cadets have to slog through, but I could easily see the earliest cadets really resenting it and making their complaints known on campus, especially in a highly competitive, ego-driven environment like Starfleet Academy where winning is everything to a lot of cadets.

    So, your contention is now that there may have been like, five people who were completely unaware of what was going on with the KM Test? I can accept that, even though you were clearly arguing that its secrecy was widespread. Any more than a few people at the Academy not knowing about it stretches credibility.

    The cadets know the test is unwinable in advance. In fact, the psychological aspect of knowing that it's coming and seeing how you face the prospect of even taking the test at all is probably something you're evaluated on too. You know the people who stress over upcoming tests to the point of taking pills to help them concentrate or stay awake? Can you imagine the kind of pressure an unwinable scenario test would have on them? Some cadets might even just quit. Then, on the flip side, you have the people who --knowing that it's unwinable-- would totally just blow off preparing for the test and not take it seriously.

    Both extremes; cadets who freaked out, and those who didn't "take the simulation seriously" (remember this is what Kirk's test evaluators in the booth were most concerned about in ST09) would be judged poorly. Those who took a middle ground approach would probably be deemed reliable command material. Kirk in ST09 baffled them by seemingly not caring during the simulation itself but obviously caring a lot since he took the risk to rig a method of winning.

    You don't see any difference at all between the difficulty and risk in copying every question on a test to pass on to later students and just telling their friends "Yo brah, you won't believe this totally bogus unwinable test they gave us today" (23rd century slang is based on Bill & Ted). One is hard to do and carries a much greater risk of being caught, and the other is speaking a few words that is completely impossible to monitor or enforce even if you were trying to keep it a secret. Plus, one is actually cheating, whereas the other is just talking about a shared or soon to be shared experience.

    That wasn't the point of the post I was responding to, though. He stated that the fact that it was a no-win scenario would likely remain secret among most of the cadets, which is what I was addressing.

    Kirk in TWoK must have known the test was coming up or else he wouldn't have had time to reprogram the simulation. The same goes for Kirk in ST09 (plus, Kirk and McCoy and later Kirk and Uhura were discussing taking the test the next day).

    All that we know is that Kirk distinctly says he "reprogrammed the simulation" and "changed the conditions of the test to make it possible to rescue the ship" in TWoK. It's explicitly stated in both cases that he reprogrammed the computer to allow him to win. Anything else you're tossing in there to make TWoK Kirk look better in this situation because of your dislike of ST09 is just baseless speculation.
     
  2. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Here's the problem. there is no information to support your supposition. originalKirk never actually narrated what he did. We have no way of knowing exactly what measures he took to win beyond the vague statement that he "change the parameters".
    Your wishful thinking does not translate into fact.:lol:

    And this silly "Kirk didn't believe in the no-win scenario" so he wouldn't program the computer generate Klingons to have a no win chance is beyond moronic.
     
  3. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    But that's not what happened. Kirk (or Gaila on his behalf) simply reprogrammed the scenario to drop the Klingon shields. Kirk then ordered one (presumably fully energized) torpedo to each unshielded Klingon ship, destroying them all. From the transcript:


    As I said upthread, that's equivalent to the very same thing Kirk Prime did to the Reliant in TWOK.

    Perhaps the problem some people are having is just in the execution?

    Would the film have depicted something more praiseworthy, if instead Gaila had stolen simulated prefix codes for the warbirds, that Kirk handed to an operations cadet in the simulation to use to order the warbirds to lower their shields?

    No, that likely wouldn't even be possible to do in the simulation. Saavik didn't know that trick. It's probably highly classified. Kirk Prime cleared the bridge of nonessential personnel before discussing prefix codes in TWOK.

    That's not what not believing in the no-win scenario means. It doesn't mean that you always deliberately give your enemy an out, due to some misguided sense of fair play. It means you believe that in real life you always have a chance, if only you can find it in time.

    Did you have a problem with Kirk Prime's ethics, when he lowered the Reliant's shields with the prefix code and fired on her? Or, do you think that Kirk fired on an unshielded ship only because he knew he had weakened phasers?
     
  4. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Kirk is a fanatical no-no-win believer. If you ever wondered why in The Enterprise Incident he whispered to the Romulan commander "there's no Vulcan death grip, I'm just faking it and Spock is lying", that's why. He's would never ever risk making it a no-win for his adversary. Never. We know he would never maroon Khan on a planet without a shuttlepod. That new Kirk is an impostor.
     
  5. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Hacking the program is wrong either way, but that's not the point. Hacking the program is all nuKirk did. What PrimeKirk did was not use a copy of the test answers-- he added his own option to a multiple-choice test. They offered him A and B and he came up with C. That showed them his potential.

    No, nuTrek did not exist when TWOK came out. When I-- and everybody I've ever known or spoken to until this thread-- understood is that Kirk found a way to beat the no-win scenario. He came up with his own option that the Academy had not considered. He beat the conditions of the test. That was the whole point of the scene and why it was punctuated with the unexpected rescue. The idea that he simply hacked the program and stuck in a dumb-ass cheat code never occurred to anybody. How would that earn him a commendation? If anything, retconning what PrimeKirk did is an attempt to make excuses for the reboot.

    Whatever. In a real situation, the Klingon shields aren't going to just drop and let you blow them up.

    If there was some way that Kirk could have had Klingon prefix codes or something, that certainly would have been better. As you say, that's very unlikely. But, again, it would have to be something that could happen in the real world, something that demonstrated Kirk's potential, not just magic.
     
  6. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No doubt I would have enjoyed a different form of cheating, like Kirk flying through an invisible curtain of stars or getting the Klingons stuck in an invisible corner in a video game fashion.

    But that is a matter of a preference. Installing a subroutine through a security hole and exploiting a hole in the test itself are essentially the same thing from a rational standpoint. There is no difference, you broke the simulation. And this worked better for the drama.

    By the way, reality seems to have more "holes" than a simulation can ever, purposefully or by accident, have. Some of them Kirk has exploited on multiple occasions in the new films, the old films and TOS. That seems to me like an acceptable excuse for both kinds of cheating – even in reality, sometimes you trick your opponent by exploiting the flaws in their behaviour, sometimes you crack their ship's computer.
     
  7. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Inasmuch as the purpose of the scenario was to test responses to defeat, every response is valid information. There are no right answers. You haven't even thought out what you mean by cheating. The acceptability of the responses depends on what the Kirks reprogrammed into the scenario, yet you refuse to consider the issue posed. And the whole discussion is kind of nuts, because the only point in Abrams' version is to show Kirk's cocksmanship in rigging the test and enjoy him punking the teachers.

    Again, there are no answers in this test. You too have completely misunderstood pretty much everything you've seen and heard.

    The quotes are nested so confusingly I've lost track of who originally posted this. But it was in Locutus of Bored post.

    Locutus of Bored goes on:

    As seen, the claim that the original Kirk must have known overlooks his own post. I've forgotten whether we saw the new Kirk's reaction to "failing" the test. But the real point, inadvertently made to be sure, is that the test makes no sense if the student walks into it knowing, even in rough outline, what's going to happen that day. However, this doesn't make the two Kirks morally equivalent. It just demonstrates gross confusion on the part of the writers!

    Here, the "you" is not me. Nonetheless, the original Kirk said "could" save the Kobayashi Maru, and we saw the new Kirk made it so he "would" save the ship. Your argument (and most everyone else's) boils down to pretending there's no difference between "could" and "would." What's making you people say something so silly?

    Please keep up. The original Kirk said explicitly "make it possible." That is, "could." We saw what the new Kirk did, which is guarantee he "would." Aside from the lunacy of rewriting English so that "could" and "would" are synonyms, your only chance to defend your position is to hold that the original Kirk's narration was unreliable. This is still a forced interpretation. And one that so far as I know never occurred to anyone before they needed to defend the scene in the new movie.

    Possibly, but that's a more or less counterfactual discussion of how the Abrams' crew should have written the character. I'm pretty sure they were mostly interested in showing Kirk seduce a woman and sneer at the testers. That seems to be a pleasurable experience for most and I don't see discussion changing that. The best we can hope for is genuine understanding of the differences in the two Kirks demonstrated.

    If Khan had just been a little bit smarter, he'd have changed the codes. He had his possible out. In practice of course, the oversight by a highly inexperienced albeit brilliant commander was Kirk's possible out. He was the one who was losing.
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    How could he reprogram the test if he didn't know he was taking it. And how accurate of a psychological test can it truly be if you can take it multiple times?

    You seem desperate to hang on could and would (which he never said 'could') instead of looking at what was actually said. Your biases have you making an argument that makes absolutely no sense.

    I don't mean to offend anyone here, but twenty-year old dudes are mostly dicks. They think they own the world and nothing that they do is wrong. I seriously doubt Prime Jim Kirk is any different.

    Actually, I hate the Academy portion of the 2009 movie. But my dislike doesn't make Prime Kirk's actions any less wrong concerning the Kobayashi Maru.
     
  9. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    How do you know this? All Kirk says is:
    Nothing in that exchange tells us what he did.

    The later scene were he lowers the Reliant's shields is homaged in Kirk lowering the Klingons' shields in ST09. The writers chose that for a reason, just as they included the apple eating scene.

    Adding your own answer to the test and then using that answer when taking the test is cheating.
     
  10. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, indeed.

    And, Spock and the other instructors could have discovered Kirk's tampering with the simulation and removed it. They even had fair warning during the simulation when the power cycled. As puppets of the instructors, the simulated Klingons weren't the actual adversary; the instructors were.

    If you want to get philosophical about it, in practical computers, nothing is absolutely certain. For starters, no practical computer can be perfectly isolated from unpredictable environmental influences. This was a problem still not solved in the 24th century Prime Universe. How many times did the holodeck get messed up by some unexpected radiation surge or whatever? The whole computer even reproduced in one episode, contrary to program, after the Ent-D weathered "an unexpected magnascopic storm in the Mekorda Sector". A reliability of 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% (that's 47 nines) is still not 100%. Kirk could not be certain, in the mathematical and theoretical sense, that his tempering would be effective, even if it went undetected.

    Restoring a sense of realism in the simulation, or downright establishing one in the first place, so that the cadet ship was not automatically gimped and/or the Klingons were not automatically buffed, and so that the simulated Klingons aboard the warbirds were making decisions based on the information realistically at their disposal that would have been realistic for Klingons to make under the circumstances, was no doubt too tall a task for Kirk to accomplish. Given the object of the character test, it's easy to imagine that the scenario test wasn't designed to simulate such realism, even in principle. However, in the age of holodecks, the scenario test would likely occur there, and it might be feasible to accomplish such a thing.
     
  11. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Co-Founder of ISIS Moderator

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    It's not retconning anything. It's simply not filling in the blanks with a bunch of bullshit we can't possibly know and insisting it's fact.

    It earned Kirk a commendation because as Spock said "Your final solution was, shall we say... unique" and Kirk reiterated "It had the virtue of never having been tried." The commendation was for "original thinking"; thinking outside the box. Every previous student just takes the test and accepts the loss, but Kirk went so far as hacking the program because he couldn't accept that.

    It possibly could have resulted in the same disciplinary hearing nuKirk goes through, and since it would presumably not have been cut off at the start of proceedings by a crisis Kirk could have defended his point more clearly, thus convincing Starfleet that this was not a simple case of cheating but rather a cadet taking extraordinary and creative measures to solve a problem.

    The whole movie is full of Kirk using creative little cheats and cat and mouse games like that. Kirk using the prefix code to lower Reliant's shields. Kirk and Spock "lying" --using the (world's worst) code about Enterprise's repairs to turn hours into days and fool Khan-- unlike "by-the-book" Lt. Saavik. Kirk going into the nebula to cloud their tactical displays and render shields useless, thus making the odds even. The Kobayashi Maru test wasn't an isolated reference, it was one of the main themes reiterated over the course of the movie: How you face death, and how it will eventually catch up with you no matter how long you cheat it.

    Kirk didn't seem offended by his son's accusation of cheating on the Kobayashi Maru test; almost as if he'd heard it many times before.

    The only actual supposition on the part of the filmmakers in ST09 was that Kirk used a tactic similar to the prefix code in TWoK to disable the Klingon ships' shields. But it's a logical supposition seeing as how Kirk might have thought of the prefix code in the first place in TWoK because the KM Test was already on his mind before and during the mission. Everything else about the hacking and changing the conditions of the test and some people considering it cheating is spelled out right in dialogue from TWoK.
     
  12. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Co-Founder of ISIS Moderator

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    How is that at all contradictory? I was simply demonstrating to the poster I was debating with (not you) multiple reasons why the KM Test can not reasonably be considered a secret from the cadets beforehand:

    1) Students are going to talk about the unfair (in their opinion) and unwinable test they had to take with other students, with family, and with friends. There's simply no way something that significant can be kept a secret. It's like students not talking about taking the SATs.

    2) Students are given advanced warning that they are going to take the test and know that it's a no-win scenario. Kirk and McCoy discussed the nature of the test and that you're supposed to lose the day before in ST09. Kirk and Uhura discussed it the day before in her quarters. Prime Universe Kirk knew he had to take the test in advance or else he wouldn't have been able to "reprogram the simulation" and "change the conditions of the test."

    3) It's obviously not a secret because they give the same test to students multiple times. Both nuKirk and Prime Kirk were on their third try taking the test. Even if you somehow kept it a secret from the third time cadet beforehand (which IMO is impossible and not supported by other evidence: see above), as soon as the cadet was in the simulation and it became obvious that no matter what you did the enemy was in God Mode and would defeat you, the psychological "surprise" would be foiled. The same goes for the cadets who heard about the test through rumors; as soon as they saw that the enemy can't be defeated they would know what was happening.

    Which is why I don't think it's a surprise at all. I think knowing the unwinable KM Test is coming up and being evaluated on how you handle the stress of that knowledge is all part of the test. It's about weeding out the cadets who freak out or on the opposite extreme don't take it seriously enough and finding the ones who stay calm and cool even knowing what they're about to face. Kirk went an entirely different way with it though and actually found a way to win, hence the commendation.
     
  13. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The first scene in Wrath of Khan established how cadets were meant to think of the Kobayashi Maru test--via Saavik. Saavik immediately protests to Kirk that the test was unfair. My guess is that even if no cadet has ever beat it, that they enter into the test feeling like it's possible, almost like it's some sort of urban myth. Regardless of cadet-to-cadet chatter in JJ Trek, I think it was like a hazing ritual of sorts in which cadets know they shouldn't "spoil" the ones coming after them about the trick-nature of the test. They may actually enjoy seeing the younger cadets' frustration. Certainly if it were common knowledge, Saavik would not have protested the way she did. However, all officers, having gone through it, know the secret. Kind of like knowing Santa and the tooth-fairy aren't real.

    So I think prime Kirk believed that the simulation wasn't a test of character, but a traditional skill-test, just as Saavik did, and that when he rigged the simulator, he didn't want to handicap it to the point where he didn't have to break a sweat. He only wanted to lower the difficulty enough to make it possible to win--but you'd still have to be really good as a fledgling captain. This would be cheating, technically, but really it's just bending the rules out of Kirk's innate sense of fair-play.

    That's not what nu Kirk does. Nu Kirk cheats in a Bart Simpson sort of way--to avoid having to exhibit any leadership skills whatsoever. It's a much more egregious rule-breaking, and while it endears the audience to Kirk as some sort of too-cool-for-school "bad boy" it also makes him out to just not be true leadership material.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013
  14. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    No. As already pointed out upthread, in Kirk's own words, from TWOK:

     
  15. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    There is no degrees in cheating or hacking and changing the program. If you do it you're just as guilty as anyone else who does it. If there is honor in PrimeKirk's actions, there was honor in NuKirk's. If there is dishonor in NuKirk's actions, there is dishonor in PrimeKirk's.

    These gyrations to make it seem like there are degrees to cheating in order to make PrimeKirk look good and NuKirk look like an insult to the character Kirk are going to hurt someone's neck.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013
  16. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have a lot of problems with the scene in Star Trek 09 because Kirk is just ridiculously, cartoonishly cocky in it. I'd always assumed Kirk had hacked and cheated to pass, but at least in a more subtle way. I assumed his cheat allowed them to save the Kobayashi Maru in a realistic manner while he played it dead straight.

    Having him munch on an apple, barely pay attention and do "funny" gun signs was too much for me. That just isn't my Kirk.

    It's not a big deal for me though as it's a fairly disposable scene.
     
  17. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    The scene is designed to show what Kirk thinks of the test. It's also consistent/parallel with Kirk in TWOK.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013
  18. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    Exactly. There are legitimate ways to gripe about the Abrams films but these asinine speculations about things we have NO evidence for (the "decent cheating" of Prime Kirk) in order to create a false comparison with what we actually have evidence for (the Abrams version of the test) and place the latter in a bad light is, frankly, bullshit.
     
  19. Konata Izumi

    Konata Izumi Commander Red Shirt

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    ^That's a bit backwards. TWoK gives room for a much more heroic interpretation, while the newer movie tells the absolute least heroic of these interpretations, in a definite manner. So it can be shit, while TWoK is ambiguous thus not shit in a similar way. Unless you go by guilty until proven innocent, which would serve no purpose but move bad light away from the new movie, in an illogical manner. ST09 did a thing people didn't like while TWoK did not.

    The post you quoted explained two different degrees of cheating, in utter clarity. Is it all crimes you think like that, or is there a personal thing for cheating? Any way it's not reasonable.

    And I'm going to do something completely else now.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Am I the only one who thinks Kirk comes off as quite cocky when he's explaining what he did in TWOK? Which is the way I would want an actor to play the scene.