TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by alpha_leonis, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. alpha_leonis

    alpha_leonis Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 27, 2001
    As we all know, the destruct sequence on the original Enterprise required voiceprint and code verification from the top three officers serving at the time.

    In "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", the original episode where the sequence was introduced, those officers were Kirk, Spock and Scotty (who were established as the top three command officers; Spock served as Captain when Kirk was away; in the absence of both, Scotty took over.)

    So we get to the destruct sequence in TSFS. Kirk kept the first code; Spock, of course, was otherwise occupied, so Scotty moved in to the second slot. When the sequence was initiated, why did they bring in Chekov for the third code? Why not Sulu, who fell right behind Scotty in the Enterprise chain of command? Had Chekov become senior to Sulu by virtue of the fact that he'd been a First Officer in his own right until just prior to the events of the movie?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  2. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Per Ardua
    I'm not sure if Sulu was really in the chain-of-command as he was suppose to be getting his own ship originally in The Wrath of Khan and was essentially taking one last joyride on the Enterprise.
     
  3. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Location:
    The Captain's Table
    ^Not cannon, but Sulu was actually serving as first-officer of the Exeter at the time of TSFS. Recall his line in TWOK: "I'm delighted. Any chance to go aboard the Enterprise." As he wasn't a normal part of the command crew, he probably didn't have an access code that would be recogized by the computer.

    It's possible Chekov was re-assigned either to Enterprise or directly to Kirk after Reliant was destroyed, as he wouldn't have had a ship to go back to. Given his involvement in Khan's escape and the creation of Genesis, it may be that Starfleet wasn't willing to offer him a ship of his own, so he stayed with Kirk because he had nowhere else to go. Terrell was dead, and it's not clear what happened to the surviving Reliant crew members.

    Kirk was himself only in command of the vessel temporarily, but if we're to believe that he would have taken possession of all command codes from Spock, it makes sense that he would have been able to arm the destruct sequence using the same code as before. Scotty was still assigned to Enterprise as chief engineer, so nothing would have changed for him.

    OTOH, it may also be that the computer was expecting input from the vessel's commanding officer, chief engineer, and science officer. As Spock was absent, Chekov would have been the right choice to enter his code.

    I don't necessarily believe that only the top three ranking officers present would be needed. Remember, Beverly Crusher entered her code to enable Enterprise-E's sequence, and physicians normally fall outide the normal chain of command, even if they hold a fairly high rank.

    --Sran
     
  4. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Planet Carcazed
    In TWOK, after Terrell committed suicide in the Genesis cave, after they all beamed up, after being in Sick Bay, Chekov came to the bridge and volunteered his services. Kirk told him to take the weapons station. His command codes must have still been active in TSFS.
     
  5. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Location:
    The Captain's Table
    Well, I don't know that one needs specific command codes to use a station that's already in use. Codes are typically needed to release a computer lock-out (as seen in TNG and beyond). Having said that, it's not clear how many command codes each officer has or what they're for. It's possible that an officer has the option of keeping his command codes for a specific vessel stored in the ship's computer after he leaves in case he were to serve aboard the vessel again in some capacity. It's sort of like keeping an email address even after leaving a job or a school, as some places will allow you to keep your username and password.

    It's not clear why Chekov was chosen for something that Sulu could easily have done himself. Sulu took over the captain's chair while Kirk was in his quarters at the outset of TSFS, but that may have been because Chekov was already in the midst of a pre-approach scan at the science station.

    --Sran
     
  6. alpha_leonis

    alpha_leonis Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 27, 2001
    Perhaps another operative question, besides "Who gets to input the destruct sequence on the Bridge", might have been, "who is best able to perform the complicated transporter sequence that needs to be programmed?"

    At that moment they needed to beam themselves down to Genesis, and beam the Klingon crew over at effectively the same time. Perhaps Sulu is the best transporter operator in the group (after Scotty himself, but Scotty had seniority and was still needed on the bridge for the destruct sequence.)

    Therefore perhaps it was just a case of Kirk allocating his resources most efficiently?
     
  7. Workbee

    Workbee Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    What troubles me more about the sequence is the fact that even after 15 years and a major refit, they hadn't changed the codes. Of course, the need to change passwords is more apparent to us now in this age of multiple passwords and identity theft then it was in 1983. Even so, it seems at the very least the codes would have been changed after "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" seeing as everyone on the bridge got to hear not only the codes, but the abort code as well.

    OTOH, it was a nice little nod to continuity in the movie. And watching the two scenes gives a very interesting contrast -- in LTBYLB, it was part of a calculated power play for control of the ship -- while Kirk was aware of the risk, and I believe would have done it (as duty required), you could see he was playing up the situation to intimidate Bele. Kirk was aiming for gaining control, not destroying the ship. In TSFS, this instead was a struggle to "turn death into a fighting chance to live" There was no plan of retaining the ship or getting the Klingons to back down. Kirk wasn't bluffing or playing a game of "space chicken" to come out ahead. He knew he WAS destroying the ship for real, and that really came through in each of the actors' performances.
     
  8. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Location:
    The Captain's Table
    One other thought: we know that the Klingons were preparing to board the ship, but it wasn't clear exactly when that would happen. Kirk had surrendered and was willing to let them come aboard, but he couldn't have known that they would wait until the agreed-upon time before beaming over.

    Whatever happened, McCoy's survival was absolutely necessary, so he could not have been on the ship when it was destroyed. That's why Kirk sent him to the transporter room first rather than having him wait on the bridge. Had the Klingons decided to board the ship sooner than expected, McCoy would not have been able to defend himself against Kruge's men. Sulu was only one person, but he had extensive hand-to-hand combat experience and could have defended McCoy long enough for him to get off the ship.

    --Sran
     
  9. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 19, 2013
    Location:
    In a finely-crafted cosmos... of my own making.
    Maybe they change the code every month but it cycles back every 15 years. ;) :D
     
  10. dub

    dub Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Location:
    Location? What is this?
    Or maybe Nimoy just wanted Chekov to say that line.
     
  11. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 19, 2013
    Location:
    In a finely-crafted cosmos... of my own making.
    That's way too reasonable.
     
  12. DaleC76

    DaleC76 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    The State of Alabama
    Chekov identifies himself as "acting Science Officer" to the computer. Perhaps that is the required position, along with Captain and Chief Engineer.
     
  13. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    That's been my take on it too. It's also something that may vary from ship (on other vessels, it might be require the Security Chief or whoever was third in the chain-of-command).
     
  14. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Sometimes I think people focus too much on continuity and not the overall themes a film wants to convey. The Enterprise, in Trek III, is seen as inseparable from its crew.

    Holding onto the same codes from TOS, which the crew had committed to memory, even through reassignments, helped reinforce that. It's like, wherever Checkov goes, he will always remember the destruct codes of the Enterprise, almost like holding a locket with a picture of your loved-one in it. It's part of the sentimentality of it all, and that little pregnant pause where the ball passes to Checkov and he has to recall the code from memory is very effective.
     
  15. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    I always saw Chekov' brief pause as being reluctance because he knew it was going to be the end of the Enterprise.
     
  16. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2002
    Location:
    ssosmcin
    Why not Chekov? There was plenty of time for his assignment status to be updated (there was never any stated question of him going anywhere else) and he's back at the nav station when the film begins. His voice was on file, he knew the codes, the other two codes were correct. As long as you've been granted permissions, it shouldn't matter which of the group enters the code. It could have been Bones or Sulu, as long as they had access rights. Something this important would have to allow others to step up in the event someone else is killed or indisposed. If you confine it to the top 3 officers, you're screwed if the XO is dead. Even the captain would have to have a backup.

    Resolved to my satisfaction. :)
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    We need not assume that the string of numbers was a code, though. Not in the sense of being a secret password or a way to positively identify the speaker; those should be redundant with voice recognition already.

    Rather, the numbers could simply be shorthand for what the person wants specifically. The "Code zero zero zero, destruct zero" bit probably serves that function, but all the "personal" strings of numbers are also first identified as being requests for a specific "destruct sequence". There might be plenty of nuances to it: say, Kirk first specifies that he wants a sequence that needs two more verifiers; Scotty concurs; and Chekov concurs. Kirk might also have chosen a destruct sequence that needs only his say-so, or a sequence that calls for the consensus of five officers, or a sequence that needs to get approved by the computer based on set criteria.

    The string of numbers could also specify what the position of the person aboard the ship currently is (so it stays unchanged for Kirk and Scotty, but follows the Science Officer post when that transitions from Spock to Chekov). The CO position is unambiguous, but the ship might have plenty of Science Officers, and "1b2b3" might be needed to tell that Chekov is using the authority of the Chief Science Officer rather than the Assistant Astrobiologist.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    T'Girl
    Possibility.

    While Sulu obviously out ranked Chekov during TOS, it's possible that by the time of TSFS Chekov out ranked Sulu, he was promoted to Commander prior to Sulu, and therefor had more time in grade.

    Chekov was First Officer of the Reliant in TWOK

    Sulu was assigned to the academy in someway.

    :)
     
  19. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Location:
    The Captain's Table
    ^If you believe the novels, he was first officer of the USS Exeter.

    --Sran
     
  20. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    ^ This. Sulu isn't technically part of the Enterprise crew in either TWOK or TSFS, but the scene which explained this was famously excised from the final cut.

    I never fully understood why he's officially back at the helm in TFF though. Maybe Excelsior was still undergoing tests after the transwarp fiasco, and Kirk simply offered him another short term tour-of-duty until his own command was available again? :confused: