Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. The Warlord

    The Warlord Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2012
    I always assumed the order of episodes was chronological order, thus Chekhov was on the Enterprise in Space Seed, we just didn't see him. (Which can be said whether or not we place Catspaw before it anyway ;)..).Anyhow it's interesting to consider the series in this way.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    The interesting thing is, at the beginning of "Omega Glory" no reason whatsoever is give for why our heroes approach the planet Omega IV. They find the Exeter in orbit, yes, but it's made clear that this was a surprise, and they definitely weren't looking for her - they didn't even know anything was wrong with her, and didn't believe she would still be in this part of space after having visited the Omega system half a year earlier. "Requiem" in turn ends with the ship setting a course to... Somewhere. We never learn where, we just hear the heading spelled out.

    The two episodes could really play back to back: Kirk goes to Omega to find rhyetalyn, has a brief adventure involving Flint, and then decides to have a look around. He then stumbles onto Tracy on the next planet. That wouldn't solve the Galloway problem, because "Requiem" very much has a stardate that places it before "Turnabout Intruder", but it would be an interesting dramatic combination. Kirk's crew has just recovered from a horrible disease, and now they encounter Tracy who has lost his own crew to another horrible disease...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Just a Bill

    Just a Bill Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    It's funny how we're discussing the believability of the characters' actions and motivations, when this little suspension-of-disbelief moment, the space-elephant in the room, seems to dwarf all other realism qualms in the episode combined — probably by an order of magnitude. Normally it takes some kind of Sylvia/Korob-style magic to pull off something this outlandish, but apparently Flint is a renaissance-man technical genius who's also a Level 750 Archwizard Deluxe.

    Hmm, maybe the Trelane-is-a-Q crowd should consider Flint as their next inductee!

    Sorry, just being kinda goofy today.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Of course, odds are that Flint never shrank anything. All that really happened, as far as we can tell, is that Flint jammed communications and then frightened Kirk with a detailed tabletop projection of his ship.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Location:
    Near Manhattan ··· in an alternate reality
    It's one thing to monitor a distant vessel entering your solar system with nothing to hide behind, yet an entirely different matter when it comes to scanning the complex topography of a planetary landscape.

    Well, that's another terribly unrealistic aspect of the episode. The complexity to essentially teleport a vast starship from orbit into a miniaturized form on the surface is... well, just plain ridiculous. Matter must be conserved--so where does it go, and then return from when the Enterprise is restored? Think of the scale of one human being to the Enterprise. The ship was reduced to no bigger than Kirk's behind. And if Flint has that kind of power, why wouldn't he just miniaturize the landing party and then deal with them on that highly advantageous scale of intimidation (e.g. Giant Apollo in "Who Mourns for Adonais")? Anyway, even accepting the outlandish teleportation and miniaturization ability, I suspect it requires line-of-sight to work.
     
  6. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, Terra
    Yes, Flint's unrealistic, outlandish, and ridiculous ability to shrink the Enterprise down and and put it on a tabletop truly strains credulity, if we are expected to believe that this ability can be used with anything other than Flint's line-of-sight.
     
  7. gottacook

    gottacook Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    Maryland
    I think this is unlikely, because there is a POV shot from the frozen bridge crew, with the main viewer showing life-size Kirk. The suggestion (perhaps the intention) was that the crew might be suspended yet aware of surroundings and passage of time, perhaps like the experience of the Garrard character in the early part of James Blish's story "Common Time."

    As for the absurdity of Flint's being able to actually do this - it's no more absurd than (as I wrote earlier) Spock knowing for certain that the waltz was not only ostensibly by Brahms, but "in Brahms' own hand which I recognize." Or, to take another mid- to late-third-season episode, the Gideons knowing how to build a 1:1 scale-model Enterprise good enough to fool its freakin' captain - a feat that would be next to impossible even for a Federation member planet. Perhaps D. C. Fontana's successor as story editor just didn't give a crap?
     
  8. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Location:
    Outer Graceland
    My Brahms book as a kid had a manuscript on the cover. An orange Kalmus edition, iirc. Spock's got a better memory than I. It's possible.
     
  9. EnterpriseClass

    EnterpriseClass Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Timo, the Lt. Galloway problem in 'Turnabout Intruder' isn't an issue. The guard in question was never identified as 'Galloway' in any dialog only in the end credits. That is where the error lies. After Lt. Galloway died the same actor appeared as a security guard named Lt. Johnson. Just think of him as that character.
     
  10. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State
    It's all based on sworn testimony. Come on, guys. Play right. :scream:

    And I cannot subscribe to the idea that Flint was faking the ship capture, not because we see it disappear in space, but because that would make Kirk and Spock out to be fools. Such a capture must be possible in the STAR TREK universe if they accept it as such.

    But what is seen on the tabletop could still be a mere representation of what Flint accomplished. Like say the actual ship is suspended in Flint's transporter buffer, and a holographic image of it is presented for Kirk to see. That solves the matter-conservation problem, or it saves Flint from needing a table that can hold 70,000 tons.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Nothing wrong with that: Spock would recognize the hand used in the sheets, an utterly plausible performance - and from that proceed to considering the possibility that this work was by Brahms, in terms of composition. No need for the composition as such to be particularly Brahmsian, as it's merely an additional nuance.

    That's just from Kirk's POV, though. And Kirk is on drugs for part of his adventure - it would be logical to assume he's on drugs from the get-go, being deliberately made so space-happy that he accepts any crap as solid evidence, falls in love with alien chicks, and whatever else the scheme calls for.

    It's much the same as with Mudd's women: the camera shows what the characters see, rather than the absolute visual truth.

    What "Ardra" did in "Devil's Due" was plausible in the Star Trek universe as such. Creatures capable of the feats certainly exist, by Picard's or even Kirk's experience. This in no way prevents crooks from taking advantage, and pretending to possess such powers, even when they only possess the power of faking.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    I don't understand this idea that Flint's technology requires line of sight. The Federation transporters don't.

    Then there's the "conservation" argument—yet STAR TREK features FTL travel and communication and other violations of known physics. Fans readily accept parallel universes, time travel, paradoxes and phasers that send matter into some unknown realm. So why haul out dogma to deny Flint's demonstrated technology? (Perhaps the Enterprise was not "shrunk," but moved away from each of the three spatial dimensions in a "direction" we do not understand yet. Thus, the Enterprise did not get smaller, but shifted in a type of perspective we do not know.)

    Flint is already an enigma. Humans don't simply live for millennia. Granting that is a very big exception to then hold him to other human limitations. But let's give it a whirl. Let's assume Flint's telomeres don't shorten, his blood poisons don't accumulate, or whatever it is that makes other humans age and eventually "run out." Does that mean that mere long life leads to exponential smarts, allowing Flint to single-handedly invent technologies far beyond anything else known in the Federation? (As Da Vinci, he imagined technologies ahead of his time, yet was unable to realize them.) Or did he move out into space along with the rest of humanity, perhaps discreetly picking up bits of alien technology and coupling them with his own creativity into a super-synthesis beyond Federation science—perhaps because shorter-lived humans were wedded to their dogmas that he had long ago learned to live without?
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Actually, it seems that they do. Even a few kilometers of ordinary rock pose an obstacle for safe transporting, so over-the-horizon beamings should be impossible. Unless transporter beams can somehow curve around obstacles - but that sounds a bit unlikely, as there's indication of their directionality, such as the "collision" between Gary Seven's beam and the Enterprise.

    Which may relate to the definition of "standard orbit": rather than a freefall ellipse, it may well be a holding pattern over the landing party, guaranteed to keep the team within sight and thus within transporter access.

    And, just like you say, treknology tends to violate most known conservation laws. It should be noted that the transporter is one of the worst offenders in this respect, so Flint using a variant of this technology gives him a carte blanche...

    As regards Flint's accumulation of resources, I'd say an important part of that would be a lot of experience in dealing with fellow humans. Supposedly, a millennia-old man would be able to play others like a fiddle, having tried out everything at least once already.

    Which actually makes Flint's poor performance in this respect a question to be pondered. Is he finally growing senile and losing his old touch? McCoy's final analysis would appear to support this idea.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    We've seen numerous examples that the Federation transporters are not strictly line of sight. People have beamed into and out of sealed caves ("The Cloud Minders"), buildings and other starships—even those ostensibly on alert ("The Enterprise Incident"). The transporter may have a limit to how much material it can safely penetrate, but it is obviously not line of sight. The communicators have no trouble reaching over the horizon—or do you suppose Federation starships deploy communication relays into orbit every time they approach a planet? The "standard orbit" as synchronous doesn't wash, either. There are numerous episodes establishing orbits as much closer. (e.g. "Mirror, Mirror" with target cities passing out of range over the horizon.)

    As for Gary Seven, he was beaming across many lightyears. The sender may have been seeking to "lock on" to a receiver. The Enterprise was unexpected and, perhaps, actively scanning Earth with its transporter sensors. That would seem to be the case, otherwise why would Spock just happen to be hanging out in the transporter room at the time? Spock also said that "we" have accidentally intercepted someone's transporter beam, not that someone's transporter beam had intercepted the Enterprise. (Sci-fi writer James P. Hogan used a sender-receiver time travel setup in THE PROTEUS OPERATION. An accidental connection with an unexpected receiver happens several times in the course of the story.)

    Lastly, even if we assume Flint's technology is line of sight, all we see is a handheld remote control. His planet may have the necessary hardware arrayed to cover all directions. After all, directors aren't obligated to show a revolver being reloaded for the audience to assume that such has been done off-camera and between edits.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Quite true - but it is a matter of penetration depth. Walls of stone up to two kilometers thick are no obstacle, but that's still "line of sight" in the sense of "never over the horizon", which is fairly common usage.

    Relays would solve all the problems, but we never hear of anything of the sort. Then again, radio waves and Class M atmospheres would be a working combination for curving/bouncing communications even today. Transporter beams are a bit less likely to bounce because of the very penetration that we already discussed!

    There is no height limit for synchronous orbit as such - merely for freefall synchronous orbit. And TNG frequently mentions synchronous orbits above places other than the equator (say, synchronous orbit above the south pole in "Power Play"), which categorically rules out freefall orbiting. Starship engines should handle hovering over a spot trivially easily, regardless of hovering height (one gee to fight at ground level, something like 0.8 gees to fight at low orbit, still 0.5 gees at the orbital heights we usually witness in Trek).

    Assuming powered holding patterns (the thing we call "orbit" when we speak of aircraft) also explains why starships fall from the sky when their engines fail. And why they seem to make absurdly tight turns when the camera follows them through part of an "orbit". They are just doing figure-eights over the landing party!

    And he won't even need that if Kirk's technology is line of sight, because the starship would then be hovering directly above Flint's castle anyway!

    A clear case of not hovering - but an interesting contrast is found in "Miri", where the ship approaches the duplicate Earth along a path that would take her past the planet on the right side (the sequence originally filmed for "Where No Man" and seen in the opening credits, with the red planet). Kirk then calls for a "fixed orbit", and we next see the surface of the planet moving from left to right, as if Kirk's ship were flying from right to left at fairly significant, non-freefall speed (plus the planet of course rotating against that movement, since it's a duplicate rather than mirror Earth ;) , but necessarily at an insignificant speed).

    Perhaps the folks in the Mirror Universe just do things differently?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Location:
    I said out, dammit!
    I think my biggest problem with the episode is not the physics, but the fact that Flint was so many famous, brilliant, talented people in his lifetime. It almost seems like he was the ONLY brilliant, talented human in history. It belittles Brahms, DeVinci, et al., and kinda belittles the human race in general.
     
    Marsden likes this.
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    One would think Flint would have learned to take credit for other people's achievements, thus being the public facade of da Vinci even if another Leonardo did the actual work. Then again, Flint knows how to operate from behind the scenes: perhaps he never was Leonardo da Vinci, but merely did most of the things Leonardo is credited for. "Credit" remains quite ambiguous until the 19th century anyway.

    Personally, I don't have a problem with this. If Flint was two or three dozen human celebrities, so what? Mankind has produced tens of thousands of those. Flint isn't really making a dent there, he's just blending in. Indeed, he couldn't pull it off if mankind weren't in the habit of producing geniuses and wunderkinder of all sorts already.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Location:
    Outer Graceland
    Ok, so he was Brahms (whose reputation is inflated due to the old "Three B's" meme). But he was NOT 50 other great composers we could name in a couple of minutes. And he was DaVinci, but not Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, Bernini, whoever. I'm fine with it. Again: Cool 60s TV, way cooler than most stuff that hit me in the '70s, thus it has my love and allegiance. Irrational, but true.
     
  19. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    I'm trying (and failing) to think who the comic-book charcacter was... who, upon being asked how many famous people he had been, responded along the lines of: "Are you kidding? Do you know how unlikely that is? This* is the most famous I've been."

    *Referring to his present life as a rich businessman. It wasn't Vandal Savage or any famous character. I think it was a one-off. It's driving me crazy.
     
  20. Just a Bill

    Just a Bill Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    Exactly. It's not like they said he was Einstein, or Whedon. :)