Why did Picard Violate the Prime Directive in Nemesis??

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by The Overlord, May 20, 2014.

  1. trekshark

    trekshark Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I like that idea more than the retcon of him being a prototype prior to Data or Lore that real Soong, dream Soong, interactive hologram Soong, and android Mrs. Soong all failed to mention to Data during his interactions with them over the years of the show.
     
  2. M'rk son of Mogh

    M'rk son of Mogh Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    His mom mentioned them. Why isn't that good enough? It sounds like she's talking about B-4 exactly in Inheritance, actually.

    JULIANA: But... how do you know the same thing won't happen? Creating a stable positronic matrix is very tricky -- your Father lost several prototypes before Lore.

    DATA: I was not aware that he created any androids before my brother.

    JULIANA: There were three of them... they were like children to us... losing them was very painful. When Noonian decided to try again, I was very much against it. I didn't think we had the right to bring a life into the world that had so little chance of surviving.
     
  3. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There was a field of Poltyons in the upper atmosphere of the planet.
     
  4. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

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    See, that's how I see it. Them needing to go down there in some kind of all-terrain vehicle and manually pick up B4's bits on foot can be justified in plot terms. Having to use the Argo to evade capture from an attacking group of the native population can be justified in plot terms. But it's the bit where they open fire on the Kolarans which doesn't strike me as being particularly right. It's certainly not something I can imagine Picard's conscience being able to live with.

    (Somebody's going to quote me all the times during TNG where he allowed practical matters to overcome his conscience/the prime directive now, but I still feel that it's fundamentally out-of-character for Picard to encourage that situation in the first place.)
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. Which is why it looks like a setup. Because if it weren't, Picard would be dead.

    It's the clumsiest "ambush" in the history of ambushes since Shurgor the Sneezer tried to hide in the poison ivy with his brave naked men (including the military band with all the cymbals and jingles) during the mosquito season. The natives had no need to fire from the move when first taking aim at Picard, nor a need to leave an escape route open for his buggy. And nobody went inside the shuttle with its open cargo door?

    The way the events transpired (regardless of whether it was Shinzon's doing), Picard was not invited to Romulus. Rather, Starfleet sent a "random" ship with a "random" skipper. Which might be important for Shinzon, whose explicit and sole goal was to invite Jean-Luc Picard, the man on whom his own life depended.

    Shinzon was the product of a Romulan plot to duplicate Starfleet personnel. The Romulans no doubt also wanted a Soongian android of their own, either as part of this program or then in an unrelated effort. They would have tried to acquire one, or build one; and while B-4 was a failure in that regard, he would naturally have come to Shinzon's attention through the duplication program.

    Why not use B-4? As said, Shinzon wouldn't have wanted anybody to know about his need for Picard specifically (you don't reveal your one fatal weakness early on if you are an Evil Overlord, and the fairy godmother wasn't around to reveal it, either), so asking was out of the question. But with B-4, he could kill half a dozen birds with one stone. Or hammer, as it's probably also a case of "everything looks like a nail": Shinzon, a tool in an agent insertion program, would now complete the project to insert a Soongian agent aboard a Starfleet ship! He gets Picard, he gets access to Starfleet data, and in the best-case scenario, he even becomes Picard and might be able to take over the E-E - either as a further tool for his nefarious purposes, or then as a Plan A that secures his retirement (with the wrecking of everything in vengeful anger, starting with Earth, being but a Plan B).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Because Noonian was said to have "lost" them? B-4 may look lost, but that's probably not what Juliana meant, and if Noonian had access to B-4, he would simply have continued to work on it.

    Of course, B-FOUR is a bit suggestive, too, if there were three failed prototypes in evidence. ;)

    Well, Worf is probably firing a phaser. So for all we know, a direct hit at a local would only have stunned him! ;)

    We've seen phasers at apparent stun setting achieve interesting things such as cutting through metal ("Legacy"), so this setting overturning an enemy buggy need not be a contradiction. OTOH, Worf could probably toggle...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Just an ion storm that could head in their direction. It wasn't that it was currently interfering with transporters, just that it could.

     
  8. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    Given that the storm wasn't there yet, and that they had located the parts with pinpoint accuracy, why not just beam them up immediately? True they'd probably arrive in clumps of sand and require some cleaning up but is that really such a hassle?

    Apparently so! Get your beers and dune buggies everyone!
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The heroes wave tricorders when searching for the body parts. Are they merely matching their GPS coordinates to previous orbital scans? If so, why are they failing, and two tricorders out of three lead their operators to the wrong spot?

    It doesn't look like a "pinpoint" job to me, but rather one that would absolutely require the witnessed tricorder-waving on the spot before a beam-up would be possible. So the way I would have done it (assuming an "approaching" ion storm does not yet create a health hazard that categorically precludes transporting) would certainly be beaming down to each vague spot, waving the tricorder, uncovering the component, slapping a commbadge or other tag on it, and beaming up - component by component. A shuttle could be standing by to recover a stranded team; surface transportation would not be required.

    OTOH, just overflying in a shuttle might have drawbacks: not enough proximity for accurate scans, greater risk of somebody far away spotting the activity, etc. And our heroes wouldn't know what to expect until after surveying the first site up close. So a combination of shuttle and ground work would be the way to go - which means the buggy becomes an allowed feature, even if not a required one. Which is all the excuse Picard needs.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. GeorgeKirk

    GeorgeKirk Commodore Commodore

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    It goes without saying that Nemesis is complete crap, the kind of thing Damon Lindelof would write under the influence of a heavy dose of Vicodin, and I guarantee that we are giving the story more thought here than John Logan, Rick Berman, or Patrick Stewart ever did.

    That being said, here's my take on the Kolarans: they live on a planet near the Neutral Zone, an area of space that Earth and the Romulans have been active in for something like 200 years, way before the Prime Directive existed. So they were probably "contaminated" a long time ago, and now they're a sort of cautionary example of why the Prime Directive is needed.
     
  11. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

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    :) While I definitely appreciate the distinction you suggest there, and find it a very plausible explanation actually, I do still have to wonder if there could have been a contingency plan, any kind of contingency plan, apart from 'pull out the big gun and start shooting at things until the Argo can reach the escape shuttle'. I admit that the suddenness of the attack called for going off-plan anyway, and that Starfleet phasers have got all kinds of non-lethal options (as we all know). But still, it just doesn't feel right somehow. It doesn't feel in the spirit of the Prime Directive for our guys to go down there and then open fire on members of a pre-warp civilization, even if they are under threat at the time and we assume the Argo weapon is set to a "minimum damage" setting of some kind.
     
  12. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not following your logic here. The natives were continuously shooting at the Argo throughout the entire scene. The Argo was a fast moving vehicle in motion the whole time. The bullets were hitting the Argo. When someone in a fast moving vehicle is shooting at someone else who is also in a fast moving vehicle (and still hitting said vehicle), then the chances of intentionally missing your target are zero, because there is no control whatsoever for where your bullets end up (unless you're shooting nowhere near the target, which wasn't the case).

    That's my point. Because he didn't ask for Picard directly, how would he know that Janeway would send him? For all he knew, she'd have sent any other ship. But as you said, he needed Picard. So I ask again, why didn't he just ask for him directly?

    That's absurd. Shinzon was dying. He wasn't interested in trying to impersonate Picard. He was trying to save his life in the most idiotic way possible. If you knew that you only had a few days to live, and you also knew that there was a person who's blood could definitely cure you, and that person was, say, the President of the United States, and say, that through some quirk of fate you looked exactly like Mr. President, and furthermore, that you had some object that the President wanted but which you could also potentially use to infiltrate the White House with, what would you do? Would you try to kidnap and kill the President by stealing his blood, then impersonate him and take over the White House? Or would you try to ask the President to help you, knowing he's a good and decent man that would most likely do whatever he could to save your life, and that just kidnapping him and stealing his blood is a pretty lousy idea?
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But Shinzon wasn't just trying to save his own life. He needed to destroy Picard and wipe out his legacy. To quote the article I wrote on the subject for Star Trek Magazine:

     
  14. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And that was the entire problem with his motive: He put his own selfish ambitions even above his own life. And that was just stupid.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    If you mean it made the writing of his character implausible, I can't agree, because lots of real people do have such irrational and self-defeating motivations. Shinzon's hamartic flaw, the blind spot that doomed him, was his envy and resentment toward Picard, his belief that he was trapped so long as Picard existed. He was Ahab and Picard was his whale -- he would give anything to destroy the thing he hated, even his own life. I don't see how that makes for a stupid or unbelievable story, when so many fictional villains have been just as driven by obsessive hatred.
     
  16. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^No, that's not what I meant. I did some incredibly stupid things when I was 20 years old too (although my life was never in danger of ending in days because I needed the blood of someone I hate to survive). When it comes down to it, Shinzon was just a kid with a victim complex, who also is now in charge of everything and has a big shiny ship to command. My point is that if he had been thinking like a rational person, he would have realized how dumb his plan was. But that wasn't Shinzon. He thought that since he was now in a position of power and strength that he could get what he wanted, and he was wrong.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, Shinzon was a character doomed by his fatal flaw. Which was basically that he blamed his problems on everything and everyone except himself, and so he thought he had to destroy everyone who held him back before he could really achieve anything on his own.
     
  18. Destructor

    Destructor Commodore Commodore

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    In support of this interpretation, I have definitely known people who would be willing to destroy their own lives, and the lives of their families, over a stupid point of pride.
     
  19. Dennis

    Dennis The Man Premium Member

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    Yep.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    By asking, he would be revealing his weakness, and would have no future even if cured. All his plans about revenge would be ruined.

    By setting things up so that Picard was the closest to the seldom-visited RNZ, he'd get his cure, he'd get it his way (Picard dies), and he wouldn't need to reveal his weakness to anybody (perhaps not even Picard).

    Well, no. He was in no hurry in that respect: he spent what looked like at least a day just twiddling his thumbs and doing all sorts of utterly unrelated things, such as toying with Mrs Troi, intimidating his Romulan supporters, having tea and space crumpets with Picard, and hacking into Starfleet datanets. Plus he kept Picard waiting for seventeen hours for unknown reasons!

    Clearly, getting Picard's blood was pretty far down his list of priorities.

    If it so obviously was my lifelong ambition to either run the United States or then bring about its doom, sure I would...

    Incidentally, it's a bit doubtful that Shinzon actually had only a few days to live when he launched his rebellion. Sure, the slowly approaching premature death would motivate him to act, but if the timing was of his choosing, he would have acted sooner. If the timing was not his choosing, then it would be too much of a coincidence that he would only have a few days to live.

    Rather, it would seem that his bouts of anger hastened his demise (see all those vein-popping scenes!). Hence, a plan launched at an arbitrary moment would result in him approaching death at an accelerating pace.

    (Personally, I think that the moment for the Spartacus rebellion was dictated by orbital mechanics: Remus needed to be next to Romulus, which might only happen once per a few decades if the two worlds indeed orbit the star at very close yet independent orbits and Romulus has a slightly faster angular speed... The moment of proximity would be psychologically important if not logistically crucial for a slave rebellion intended to topple the Romulan government.)

    Timo Saloniemi