So, why did Rasmussen choose the Enterprise?

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by at Quark's, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. at Quark's

    at Quark's Captain Captain

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    Couldn't sleep, so I decided to watch some old TNG, helps me unwind.

    I picked 'a matter of time', and was a few minutes into watching it, and came across the scene where Picard asks Rasmussen why he picked him.

    And then it struck me that this is actually a good question, even if one knows his true motivation.

    First of all, it seems he did pick the Enterprise. Given the vastness of space, a random encounter with a ship seems quite unlikely, and moreover, it seems he knew what he could expect to some degree. Even though he was a very smooth talker and no doubt accomplished in 'cold reading'.

    So, I'm going to have to suppose that he did read up beforehand (or something), and then picked the enterprise as target. But why ?

    I can understand that he would travel to an era more advanced than his own but not too much more advanced, as he would still need to be able to reverse-engineer all the stuff he stole (and btw, why not just download manuals while he's at it). Even a time difference of 'only' 200 years would seem quite a stretch in that respect.

    But even so, why would he go to a starship, where control would be very tight ? I mean, suppose I'm from the 60's, time traveling to here, and I'd like to get my hands, on ordinary items like, say, a smartphone, or an iPod. Surely a navy ship (with an elite crew serving on it) wouldn't be the smartest place to try to steal that stuff ?

    He could have gone to any 24th century backwater with low- to no security and steal some 'worthless trinkets' that no-one really would have missed. Right ? Moreover, he wouldn't have needed the whole 'future historian' con act in a lower-profile place.

    So why DID he pick Enterprise ?
     
  2. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Perhaps the Enterprise then-and-there was just the first space-time address he could find in the time-pod's bookmarks. After all, just because Rasmussen was lying about being a future historian investigating Enterprise-D doesn't mean there weren't historians investigating it.
     
  3. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, I've always read it that the real future historian who Rasmussen stole the time craft from probably had that time and date already set in the computer, and was intending (presumably more successfully disguised) to observe the events on that date. As Nebusj surmises, Rasmussen probably just looked through the time ship's own pre-set computer index and hit 'engage'.
     
  4. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    A guy he knew from college captained another starship named Enterprise, and he wanted to see what its descendant was like. ;)
     
  5. at Quark's

    at Quark's Captain Captain

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    "Rasmussen probably just looked through the time ship's own pre-set computer index and hit 'engage'."

    Nice idea, but I'm not sure it adds up with what is told in the episode itself. Rasmussen tells Data that it cost him a few weeks to figure out how the pod worked, so he had to spend a LOT of time on it. After going through all that effort and finally 'cracking' the pod (and presumably seeing the possibilities open to him for the first time), don't you think he would step back for a momnet and think about his best options ? Moreover, it seems he already knew some things about the enterprise and her crew, as I said in my opening post.
     
  6. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Rasmussen should have known everything since he could just read it in the timeship's log. But during the climax, he looks genuinely concerned for his own life. He should already know that it was a success.

    Oh, and where's Captain Braxton? He's slacking on the job!
     
  7. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    This actually does make quite a bit more sense that what we were told in the episode - but I would submit that as a thief and a liar, we shouldn't believe anything Max Headroom had to say during the whole adventure.

    I'd like to point out that A Matter of Time has aged very well and among my list of TNG eps to rewatch. :thumbsup
     
  8. wulfio

    wulfio Captain Captain

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    Because there wouldn`t have been an episode if he didn`t!
     
  9. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    One thought would be that his travel pod is like the old version of the TARDIS...it goes were it wants to go.
     
  10. at Quark's

    at Quark's Captain Captain

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  11. varek

    varek Commander Red Shirt

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    I think you're right, but the Enterprise has always been considered the flagship of Starfleet. So, his choosing this ship would be the obvious source for the best available technology.

    Or, he could just have pointed his ship toward the most-densely traveled section of space and encountered the Enterprise.
     
  12. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I wish that rumor had been real. :sigh:
     
  13. at Quark's

    at Quark's Captain Captain

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    True, but:

    1) episode suggests that he stole only everyday, 'mundane' items, so as to not arouse suspicion too much
    2) considering that he could have gone anywhen, if he wanted the 'best' technology, why not simply jump 50 years further ahead? I suppose the heavily classified 'best' stuff on enterprise would be everyday, declassified techs by then, and he would run much less risk when he stole some. For that matter, why not jump straight to the 27th or even 31st century?

    Come to think about it, perhaps still having to reverse-engineer everything he stole wasn't his only reason for not jumping into the too distant future. Perhaps if he jumped to anywhere near the 27th century or later, he would instantly be seen for the con man he was, illegally piloting a time pod ...
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    To nitpick, Picard's first Enterprise was the Flagship of the Federation (the others were never indicated to be flagships of either the Federation or its Starfleet).

    But why raid this prominent vessel? Wouldn't it be much better to act with caution and raid some less well known ship that would sport the same futuristic loot but would not be subject to such intense scrutiny by Starfleet and by fellow time travelers (cops and robbers alike)?

    I'm all for Rasmussen hitting the E-D because that was a preset option, and even weeks of toiling wouldn't help him master the time pod enough to choose a non-preset option. I'm also a bit skeptical about his chances of optimizing the era from which to steal stuff: the E-D seems to be among his very earliest attempts at time theft, and he would have to do awfully many "test shots" to form some idea of which era would best fit the criteria mentioned above.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    I've always thought Rasmussen was just a con artist with good patter, and that he probably didn't understand the first thing about his travel pod. Sure, he might have figured out some basic onboard displays, but he's like a guy who owns a Model T suddenly being put in a Tesla and trying to figure out how to make it work.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    One really wonders what the original time traveler was doing when caught in the 22nd century. Was he perhaps investigating Berlinghoff Rasmussen, the man famously fated to raid the E-D? :devil:

    In any case, we do know Rasmussen specifically targeted the E-D - he knew everything he needed to know about that ship only a few seconds after arriving in the 24th century, and he couldn't have memorized infinite amounts of future trivia in preparation of random encounters. So we're left to wonder how well he could control his gear. His pod arrives close to the E-D, but did he aim even closer? He beams aboard Picard's bridge, but has to ask Picard to take a step aside - for dramatic effect, or because he's a klutz with transporter controls? Being a rather good con artist, he probably turns all his shortcomings into seeming virtues, so we can't really tell.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Or perhaps he can lock time from inside the pod so that he had lots of time to research where he was after he arrived. So that is was seconds for Picard, but hours or days for Rasmussen.

    Since it isn't his pod, I like to think of it as the Federation's version of a Doctor Who TARDIS. He stole it, and can't quite control it. Perhaps it was the one who picked the Enterprise, because it knew he'd be caught.

    The TARIDS does go where it want to go, seemingly at random in the early days of Doctor Who. The Doctor gains more and more control over the centuries he operates it, but it still takes him where he "needs to go" rather than where he "wants to go".
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    It would be a bit odd if 26th century vehicles didn't have minds of their own... Then again, it's already odd that 22nd century starships don't have those. I guess it's the Frankenstein syndrome at play, with humans leaving the AI out of the design specs out of disdain or fear.

    The ability of Rasmussen to put the timepod on hold is a cute and acceptable one. But if he could "research" Picard's ship to such detail simply by sitting in the pod and browsing, it seems he wouldn't need to steal any technology. The specs and manuals would already be available to him from the pod's data banks!

    The very clumsiness of the theft concept makes me think Rasmussen really had virtually no control over the pod or its destination, and could but exploit its preset abilities and functions. With finer control, plenty of more workable get-rich-quickly schemes would have been available to him! Especially since he could give a whole new meaning to "quick" in the context...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Perhaps the pod doesn't have a replicator (or at least not one good enough to do much more than food stuffs) and he's not good enough with the transporter to steal stuff.
     
  20. wulfio

    wulfio Captain Captain

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    I think we can all agree there is no logical reason for anything in this episode. It's just one giant plot hole.