TMP Klingons: what were they thinking?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Captrek, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the theatrical cut, V’gers cloud in 82 AU in diameter. That’s like the orbit of Pluto. An AU is about 100 solar diameters, so it’s 8200 suns across. Assuming similar measurements in all three dimensions, that cloud is 700 billion times the size of the Sun, or about 900 quadrillion Earths, or 200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (we don’t even have names for numbers that vast) times the size of a Klingon battle cruiser.

    Even in the DE, at 2AU across, that’s about 10 million Suns, 13 trillion Earths, or 3,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Klingon battle cruisers.

    I know these Klingons are supposed to be battle-thirsty warriors, but attacking something that large? Are you kidding me? All the firepower three battle cruisers — or the entire Klingon military for that matter — can muster wouldn’t have any impact on a target that size.
     
  2. darkshadow0001

    darkshadow0001 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If a Klingon were to read this thread, there response would be "We Are Klingons" meaning they're apt to do anything :)

    I think it's because they didn't really know what they were facing and probably thought they could either disable the thing or defeat it. This kind of thinking is common among Klingons I think, because look at all the times they wanted to defeat Kirk and failed at it?
     
  3. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I always assumed we're seeing the tail end of something that we're not privy to. Perhaps V'ger was going to pass a Klingon planet and had already mopped up some other world on its way through. That said, I always thought it would have been scarier if V'ger attacked first, as it would have made it seem more capricious and unpredictable (as it later turned out to be when it took a pot-shot at the Enterprise after it said "hi" and no one replied).
     
  4. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

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    It's also bad writing. So how long would it take for the Enterprise to cross through the cloud to get to V'ger itself? And why on Earth would Klingons attack a cloud?

    Of course you could try to rationalize that the poor ol' Klingons probably never realized how big the thing was, but really, bad writing is bad writing.

    Edit: My math on that may be sketchy. Let me look for an on-line calculator...

    Yep, I was wrong, and fixed it.
     
  5. RedShirt

    RedShirt Captain Captain

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    As long as the director feels is justified in conveying the size & alienness of the environment.
    Of course it took too long for many people's comfort; the editing foibles & schedule shortcomings have been discussed to death already.

    Because it is in their territory would be a pretty good start.

    I've always had the same belief as DS9Sega that since we a joining the action as Strafleet is first finding out what is going on (you know, not long before the cloud crosses into Federation space) that apparently a ton of shit went down as Vejur was "learning all that is learnable" from one end of the empire to the other.

    How could they not?

    Or perhaps the writers didn't feel that the audience of 1979 would need every little answer spoonfed to them.
    I know I had no trouble ascribing motivation to the Klingons when the movie was released.
     
  6. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Do you understand the magnitudes we’re discussing?

    Using the DE’s 2 AU diameter, the size ratio between the V’ger cloud and the Klingon battle cruisers is about the same as the ratio between the planet and mini-cruisers about a centimeter in length. If the target is the size of an adult human, the attackers would be about the size of a proton. How could they possibly entertain thoughts of disabling or defeating that?
     
  7. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If Warp 7 were 7 to the 3rd power times lightspeed (as the old Making of Star Trek implied), and the cloud were standing still, it'd take .99 minutes to go from the outside to the center. If it's coming at you at warp 7, halve that. The film implies a "conic section flight path" which means heading towards the center of the cloud as it passes and then overtaking from behind, so the time it would take really depends on the approach vector (how far off center of the cloud's course) and how fast the cloud was going.
     
  8. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

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    The cloud was just a field emitted by something. The Klingons realized this and reported back, while Epsilon IX watched, that they thought there was an object at the center of the cloud and that was their target.

    Saying it's ridiculous to even think you could attack the cloud because it's so big is a bit like saying it's ridiculous to attack the Earth with a hunting rifle. Well, yeah, but if you're actually planning to shoot a buck that happens to stand on the surface of the Earth, it starts to look a little more reasonable.

    And I'm not criticizing as such, but I find captrek's original definition of an A.U. being "about 100 solar diamters" a little odd (pedantically, it actually works out to ~107). Odd because the original definition of an A.U. was the distance from the Earth to the Sun (well, actually the length of the semi-major axis, but we're among friends and the like here). And that's usually the scale people work with ... 8 light-minutes, about 149 million kilometers, around 93 million miles, etc. when they define what an A.U. is. Why did you settle on using solar diameters, captrek?
     
  9. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

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    The endless ooohing and aaahing does nothing, absolutely nothing to convey the immense size of V'ger. Nothing.

    Possibly, but we don't see any real evidence of anything it's done. We do see a lot of other stuff in the dreaded Spock Fly-Thru (including Darth Vader).

    Now if they'd shown a wide, gaping hole in the galaxy where V'ger had just cleaned out everything in its path, then perhaps we'd get some sense of danger that it poses the Federation. When sitting at the theater in Mableton in 1979, watching V'ger destroy three Klingon battlecruisers, the audience actually CHEERED.

    Then it's pointless for them to attack. And they act as though they'd never seen V'ger before, not as though they were trying to extract revenge on it.

    I don't need spoonfeeding. I need a logical storyline and progression of events, something that the movie failed to achieve, despite being a blatant remake of a reasonable episode.

    72 AUs in diameter. Three battlecruisers.... I've no problem with imaging the Klingons would love to attack. I just refuse to think of them as this stupid.

    You believe that the Enterprise was traveling within the cloud at Warp Speed? Ooooh, I'm not sure I've ever considered that because of the inherit danger in traveling in such an energy cloud (remember, it's generating the same amount of energy as the sun) at such a rate of speed.
     
  10. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Was the source of the cloud presumed to be on the surface, rather than near the center? If you’re standing on the surface of the Earth with a hunting rifle wanting to shoot something (like, say, a buck) 6000 Km away near the center of the Earth, good luck.

    “About 100 solar diameters” isn’t the definition of an AU, and I wasn’t offering as such. Considering that we don’t need three-digit precision for this discussion, it’s an accurate description (not definition) of an AU.

    I used the ratio between solar diameter and AU in order to calculate how many Suns would fit inside that cloud. Actually the cloud would have been insufficient to contain Amaré Stoudemire’s ego, but he’s not a Sun anymore.
     
  11. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

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    Well, a bullet with 23rd century technology assisting aim and tracking. The point wasn't the location of the cloud relative to the generator, but that the size of the cloud was immaterial to the Klingon's actions, since they weren't attacking the cloud in the first place. Just as a hunter with a bullet isn't shooting the Earth, but a target on the Earth.
     
  12. josh.heinrichs

    josh.heinrichs Ensign Red Shirt

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    I liked the look. TMP Klingons scared the shit out of me and that's how I think a Klingon should look.
     
  13. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Do they have a target? Are they shooting at the Voyager probe that Kirk & co. will eventually discover? It looks to me like they’re just firing into the cloud.

    Even if the Klingons assume that the “source” of the cloud is dead center, and that assumption turns out to be correct, and the Klingons can identify that center precisely and fire upon it with a self-correcting trajectory that will keep the torpedo on target for dead center, it’s inconceivable that something powerful enough to generate that power field would be unshielded and would do nothing about the torpedo in the considerable length of time it would take the torpedo to travel from outside the cloud to dead center.

    We’re talking about houseflies attacking the Earth. If I understand you correctly, you’re suggesting that the attack is based on the assumptions that the planet is being sustained by a single-point-of-failure fly-sized generator, that the attackers know (to within a fly-length) where that source is located, and that they can hit that target from an Earth-radius away. Really? Maybe I misunderstand, because it isn’t making much sense to me.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I still don't understand the objection. Sure, the target would try to defend itself. But the Klingons are firing multiple photon torpedoes at the target - strategic weapons intended to devastate entire cities and perhaps planets. Essentially, they are attacking an enemy star system, which just happens to consist of swirling light effects instead of simple vacuum. Attacking an enemy star system is a perfectly valid military maneuver in Star Trek, and a single starship (let alone three) should be capable of it in light of TOS precedent.

    Now, DS9 shows that an attack on a properly defended star system may turn into a slaughter even if you have a hundred ships. But the Klingons wouldn't know what sort of defenses the enemy had (none were visible but total lack thereof was inconceivable). Which is probably exactly why they took such a cautious approach, firing from a considerable standoff distance and waiting to see what happened to their volley.

    We later learn that V'Ger really is a spacecraft a few dozen kilometers long. Multiple photon torpedoes should have made short work of that, and the impressive-looking forcefield didn't seem to do much to stop them, either. The attack only failed because there existed an unexpected superdefense that could make the photon torpedoes disappear in mid-flight, plus a superoffense that could destroy the attackers.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Would Klingons sit there and say, "Look at that huge alien cloud passing through Klingon space on its way to Earth" or would they say, "Unexplained, non-communicative invader! Attack!"?
     
  16. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's no Vader. It's a momentary optical illusion caused by darkness showing between parts of the digitized Epsilon 9 station, and a glowing thing that sticks down from the top of the "space lips".
    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/tmphd/tmphd2176.jpg

    I never saw that kind if audience reaction, and I saw the film in the theater at least 5 times in two different towns. Interesting!

    82. And I agree with you to a point. Spock immediately detected a shocking (as Sulu's reaction points out) 12th power energy field, which the Klingons should have spotted.

    The film is very consistent about the use of the warp engines (at least insofar as the Enterprise is concerned). The nacelles glow only when the Enterprise is at warp, and the deflector glows blue only when the warp engines are on. Said nacelles are lit as the ship heads towards the cloud.

    Futhermore, albeit not made plain in the film, the ship is seen overtaking V'ger from behind, which means they had to be going at warp until they got near it, unless you want to believe the entire cloud is a giant warp field.

    Also, in the DE, the nacelles remain lit when the energy probe approaches the ship (at which point it would be traveling in reverse). The moment the ship gets grabbed by the tractor beam, the warp lighting on the nacelles and deflector go off and stay off till the final shot of the movie.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  17. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Do you understand how tiny a city or even a planet is compared to this power field? “Intended to devastate entire cities and perhaps planets” means “intended to be deployed against targets whose sizes are utterly negligible on the scale of this power field.” 13 trillion Earths could fit in that power field.

    Swirling light effects that block sensors in a star system that has never been mapped. What the hell are they shooting at?

    No. Attacking a star system is not a perfectly valid military maneuver, in the context of this discussion. The star system itself doesn’t really give a darn who’s controlling the bases and trade routes and supply lines andwhatnot. Attacking enemy ships and bases that are at known locations within a star system is a valid maneuver. But we’re not talking about militarily pacifying enemy bases and ships. We’re talking about firing torpedoes blindly into a star system in the hope of destroying some unknown object that is somewhere in that opaque star system and maintains a power field as large as the star system itself. That is not a valid military maneuver. (Actually, attacking a star itself becomes a possible military maneuver with Soran’s trilithium research in ST:GEN, and Stargate SG-1 pulled it off with a red-matter-like technology, but that’s hardly relevant in TMP, because the target is not a star.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    But the Klingons didn't target the field. They ignored the field. Their actual target was tiny, even in terms of photon torpedo targets.

    Not at the cloud, that much is clear.

    From the tactical projections, it seems the Klingons fly into the chasm on the horizontal plane of the cloud, probably at as high a warp as they dare, then fire their torpedoes even deeper into that chasm. Nothing inside the chasm seems to be offering resistance to the attack. And if they're targeting Manhattan at the bottom of the chasm, they don't need to know the exact location of Battery Park. Probably a detonation a few Manhattans to starboard of the target would still do damage to the enemy.

    It's a perfectly good assumption that the target is at dead center. Firing blindly is completely justified, then - that's how one fires missiles at Moscow, too, on the usually sound assumption that the city hasn't suddenly moved fifty kilometers to southwest.

    Inexperienced space travelers might be in awe of a construct that is dozens of astronomical units wide, even if it is just an intangible field of some sort. Experienced space warriors will have learned when to ignore the nonessential, and when to press on to the target despite wonders left and right. A cruise missile heading for downtown Moscow wouldn't stop to admire the ring road network or the farmlands or the pretty cloud of smog, either!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Nardpuncher

    Nardpuncher Rear Admiral

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    Why can't anyone ever just agree with an OP? Everyone has to be like somebody who sighs "I don't know..maybe" whenever anyone says something.

    The Klingons were stupid to do that, the OP is right.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Naah. The OP and you are dead wrong. Why can't you just agree with that? ;)

    Timo Saloniemi
     

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