TMP Klingons: what were they thinking?

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

  1. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

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    Yep, this is pretty meaningless. Captrek seems convinced that the Klingons were shooting at clouds, despite evidence from the theatrical release that they knew there was an object at the center. In that original release, the Klingons reported home, saying:
    We don't know what happened previously to provoke them, but Klingons don't need much provocation to unleash their dogs of war, and if V'Ger pulled a stunt with the Klingons at all similar to what it did with Comm Station Epsilon IX, then they're perfectly justified sending whatever they have in to counter-attack.

    This movie was made when the film makers still realized that a weapon with the specifications of a photon torpedo would do a lot more damage than knock the paint off a starship's hull. In the original series and The Motion Picture, a photon torpedo detonated with a force greater than nukes. Later in the film, a single photon torpedo smashes an asteroid to rubble as a demonstration.

    It certainly doesn't matter if V'Ger is a diminutive spec compared to the cloud. It was a power field and a simple analysis of the lines of force would point back to the center. V'Ger conveniently gave them handy cross-hairs for targetting in a "bummer of a birthmark" move that, realistically, was probably unavoidable considering it's capabilities.

    They didn't just fire three photon torpedoes and then run away, either (although it's easy to make that mistake from the way the scene is edited). They continued to attack, so the salvo we saw was just the opening round of a battle that the Klingons presumably intended to prosecute with torpedo barrages until they got close enough to cut into the target with beam weapons, or it surrendered or broke. What they didn't count on was watching their super-nukes vanish without effect. And the Captain's response was to order evasive maneuvering, not a retreat.

    So let's summarize:

    1. The Klingons weren't shooting at the cloud, they were shooting at the object they knew was at the center.
    2. They weren't firing beam weapons, they used -- as Timo notes -- strategic weapons capable of causing massive damage even if they missed.
    3. These were only the first shots of battle that the Klingons intended to continue as they closed range.
    They made the mistake of being overly aggressive against an opponent who vastly outclassed them, but they certainly weren't trying to destroy a target that was 82 (or just 2) astronomical units in diameter.
     
  2. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    Consider, however, that it took a advanced communications and scanning station like Epsilon IX (and at close range too) to determine that there was something inside V'Ger and not just an external Energy Cloud ("I have a null reading at the centre of the Cloud, "Definatly something inside there, but all scans being reflected back")

    The Klingons couldn't have possibly determined that there was something inside the cloud, we know that in those days Klingons stressed more importance on "Military" focus than Scientific and Exploration

    The Enterprise couldn't penetrate the Cloud, they had to actually go inside to determine that it was more than Energy, heck Starfleet assumed it to be an Alien Ship that was generating the Energy Cloud until of course they realised that there was no crew, or life in the traditional sense, instead they found a sentient machine that somehow aquired the ability to project an Energy Cloud of 12th power energy

    Back to the main point...

    The Klingons should have known better, at that range they would have detected the power output from V'Ger and should have withdrawn, however we know Klingons aren't like that, they found something violating their territory and they responded the "Honourable Way", by engaging the intruder and opening fire, although it was a complete mismatch, to retreat would have been dishounarable
     
  3. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Klingons suspected there was an object at the center of the cloud. Likewise, all Epsilon Nine could detect was a "null reading" from which they surmised there was "something inside there", essentially the same thing the Klingons did. The Enterprise didn't even attempt a scan, fearing it was scans that triggered the attacks on the Klingons and Epsilon Nine (it wasn't).
     
  4. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

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    Madmatthias is right, the Klingons should have known better. Given Sulu's response, I'd have left a 12th power energy field traveling at superluminal velocities free to proceed on to the heart of the Federation. Let them deal with it. On the other hand, maybe this is just the way they prefer to do scientific research.

    Methodology:

    1. Shoot first.
    2. Note subject's response to being shot.
    3. Get angry if subject shoots back.
    Curiously, this bears a resemblance to posting patterns of some folks here. Perhaps they're Klingon.
     
  5. Boxyno1

    Boxyno1 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    I'm not too sure but didn't V'Ger fire that energy ball thing at the Klingon's first? If so then that may be what the Klingon's were firing at, although in said situation perhaps phasers would hve been more affective.

    And I'm not convinced the Klingons were moving at warp speed, we see the three cruisers slowly moving towards the camera in the opening shot, with the stars in the background. I'm not sure how relevent this is but there was discussion earlier in this thread suggesting the Enterprise was moving at warp, and that maybe the Klingons were too?
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Let's remember here that this awesome 12th power energy field did zip in tactical terms. It was never said to endanger the ship of our heroes, or the ships of the Klingons. It was never said to block weapons fire. It wasn't even directly established as the reason one couldn't get clear readings of V'Ger itself.

    It seems the energy field was either the unusually large starship's means of moving around at warp seven (and propulsive warp fields have never been weaponized in Trek, suggesting they are fundamentally harmless despite being impressive examples of space-bending), or then some sort of a more or less harmless byproduct of some other V'Ger function, such as its sampling of the universe around it.

    Klingons would known when to cut to the chase. Pretty lights wouldn't distract them from confronting the enemy; indefinite sensor readings wouldn't make them hesitate with deciding that the enemy sat in the exact middle of its cowardly cloud.

    When the Enterprise hits warp seven after Spock's engine repairs, we see those exact same visuals: the ship moving slowly on the foreground, stars (rather than streaks) in the background. So we can't tell whether the Klingons were doing warp or not. FWIW, their engines are never shown glaring particularly brightly even when they are doing high warp (see e.g. "Flashback"), even if the star background effect in other movies and shows is less ambiguous on the issue of warp vs. impulse.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't know what they were thinking, but I love this thread. The math is really interesting. I'm not being sarcastic. Now I can go back and watch the movie again with potentially a renewed sense of awe as to the size of the thing.
     
  8. Boxyno1

    Boxyno1 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    It seems quite odd because the streaking stars is Star Trek's way of saying, "this ship is travelling at warp". However, this was not the case in the original series and not in this movie. Another way of showing a ship is at warp is by showing the ship scream past the camera, the three Klingon cruisers are just strolling past, with even a close up of the bridge (or what I assume to be the bridge, the little tower on the end part of the "neck"). So I think that if the Klingon cruisers were travelling at impulse, then maybe so was the Enterprise.

    This movie seems to have an idea of impulse being really quite fast, such as when the Enterprise flies through the solar system and past Jupiter, personally I think this looks a bit too fast for impulse, and this makes me think that perhaps the Enterprise is moving at impulse through V'Ger.

    Is there any dialogue suggesting they are at warp or impulse when they are in V'Ger?
     
  9. darkshadow0001

    darkshadow0001 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well obviously the Klingon ship didn't back away. They kept going, so that got me thinking in these terms. And they did fire some shots at the thing... so...

    Yes, I do understand the magnitudes you're discussing.
     
  10. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

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    The formula for warp speed mentioned above, suggests that when Kirk orders impulse engines "ahead ... warp point five", the ship should be traveling at 12.5% the speed of light. Covering 37,375 kilometers every second, I think the Enterprise looked fine moving through the Jovian system. If I have time tonight, I'll try to recreate the scene with Celestia and confirm or refute the shot.

    I don't believe so, although the engines and navigational deflectors do provide non-dialog clues.
     
  11. Boxyno1

    Boxyno1 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    My problem with this, and I am setting myself up for a potential bashing here, is that the engines and navigational deflectors being lit up may have not been on purpose, but simply a mistake in the visual department
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    To clarify:

    The V'ger cloud is heading towards Earth at warp speed. In the very first shot of the film you see stars moving behind the cloud. It has to be at warp, anyway, cause otherwise it couldn't get from Klingon space to Earth in a matter of days.

    There are consistency problems, however, as this isn't the case in subsequent shots of the cloud.

    If the cloud is at warp, the Klingons must also be at warp in order to engage it, otherwise they're sitting still or cruising at impulse and allowing it to come towards them.

    The VFX guys at Apogee, add to the confusion by having the impulse engines lit on the Klingon ships.

    As I stated in an earlier post, on-screen evidence suggests that the Enterprise is at warp right up until the time it gets grabbed by the tractor beam. The nacelles are lit and the deflector is blue. The moment they "disengage all main drive systems" the nacelle glow vanishes and the deflector idles down to that amber color seen in all shots at sublight speed.

    As to the 12th power energy field, I think the point is it's a gigantic/shocking/terrifying level of energy. Albeit not canon, Roddenberry's novelization indicates that the "cloud" is the glow of annihilated atoms hitting this powerfield. The cloud itself may be mostly harmless, but the very fact of its existence points out that whatever is making it is probably not something to be trifled with...going back to the "stupid Klingons" question.

    Finally, once again to the Warp Point 5 question, here's what I said about it in another thread a while back:

     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  13. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    You see i've always assumed that the "12th Power Energy" thing was essentially whatever the maximum output of the Ent was to the power of 12

    Spock says "The Cloud is creating an energy field, greater than the Radiation of Earth's Sun" which suggests that 12th Power Energy is somewhere in that ball park

    One thing that I still find fascinating is Kirk's order to self destruct (not included in all versions), what was he thinking exactly? The Ent blowing up would have very little effect, although they were in close proximity to V'Ger itself, whats to stopping V'Ger from enveloping the Ent with a forcefield and containing the explosion?

    Its a wonder the Borg never assimilated/attempted to assimilate V'Ger, considering its abilities, or perhaps they did try but were nearly obliterated, which took them until the 24th century to make contact with Humans... ;)
     
  14. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    1.8 hours works out on-the-nose if you assume a beeline trajectory from Earth to Jupiter when Jupiter is farthest from Earth. If I’m not mistaken, such a trajectory would pass through or very close to the Sun.
     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk's idea was to catch V'ger off guard and blow its brains out, hoping to take out the part controlling the orbiting devices that were gonna fry Earth.
     
  16. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    The other thing to consider is that V'ger isn't the first "big thing" that has been shown. There was that 10,000 mile long space amoeba that projected an energy distortion field far enough away to affect the Enterprise's communication while still far away in "The Immunity Syndrome" and kill an entire star system. That would give an energy field quite massive and probably as big as V'ger's.

    Perhaps these big things occur fairly frequently and the Klingons didn't think anything was amiss in attacking V'ger?
     
  17. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    It was probably him feeling lucky. Antimatter explosion seems to be the go-to weapon when dealing with giant things like space amoebas, etc, so blowing the Enterprise up while within V'ger seemed like a reasonable gamble. Also, TOS has always treated antimatter as much more powerful than what we understand it to be today :)
     
  18. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk would have to get very lucky for that to work. As madmatthias points out, he’s hoping that Vejur won’t be able to react quickly enough to contain the explosion.

    Another thing is that it’s not clear how the destruction of the Voyager probe would affect Vejur. The Voyager probe doesn’t have the intelligence that controls the patternizers or Vejur’s other powers. Spock said, “All of this is Vejur. We are inside a living machine.” The Voyager probe’s apparent role is to give Vejur a sense of purpose. If the Voyager probe is destroyed, Vejur will have no reason to cleanse the infestation from the Creator’s home planet... but will also have no reason not to, and might simply continue on its current course of behavior. Spock and Kirk have speculated that depriving Vejur of purpose would be a knockout blow that would effectively pull out the plug, but there’s really no way to know.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Which would nicely match the visuals: Kirk departs Earth with the planet's sunny side receding in the viewscreen.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No exactly. In the original edit the planet is partly in shadow (http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/tmphd/tmphd0760.jpg), and in the DE it's mostly in shadow (http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/tmp/themotionpicture0420.jpg). In either case, the direction is wrong for heading too close to the sun.

    Then again, as neither planet's orbit is perfectly circular, and their aphelions aren't aligned, maximum distance between them isn't centered right on the sun. You'd fly near it, but not necessarily super close or through it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010

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