Why is Earth so poorly defended?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by BoredShipCapt'n, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    a sonic shower
    I'm sure this question must have been asked before, but...

    In TMP, the Enterprise (which is undergoing a refit) is the only starship within three days of Earth as V'ger approaches.

    In TWOK, the Enterprise (which is being used as a training vessel) is the only ship in the quadrant with Regula I (presumably near Earth, as the Enterprise has just left spacedock).

    This suggests that although Earth is the capital of the United Federation of Planets and the location of Starfleet Headquarters, they don't routinely keep an active-duty starship anywhere nearby to defend it. Yet Starfleet happily sent three starships for strictly ceremonial purposes to the inauguration for the president of Altair VI. What is up with their priorities?
     
  2. anh165

    anh165 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2012
    Just how are you supposed to defend against something like V'ger?

    Seems like it is defended well enough to repel conventional threats like the Klingons/Romulans etc
     
  3. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    a sonic shower
    Well, when V'ger came along, their solution was to send a starship. So the question remains, why don't they keep one around in good working order?
     
  4. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    #istandwithcbs
    You missed Generations, where the Enterprise-B is "the only ship in range"... somewhere between Earth and Neptune.
     
  5. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2001
    Location:
    Burlington, VT, USA
    It's possible there was a crisis going on elsewhere that had diverted other ships in the area. Sure it sounds like a weak excuse, but if we're trying to rationalize...

    With regards to TMP, Starfleet may have also figured any ship less advanced than the E was likely to fare as well as the Klingon ships did. Why send ships that will just be destroyed with all hands if you have a better option?
     
  6. Kirby

    Kirby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Alt: 5280
    Was it TFF or TUC where they finally figured out how to say something like "Yeah, there are other ships, but you're the best man for the job Kirk." At least that is plausable, if not a somewhat damning statement about Starfleet training.
     
  7. Clark Terrell

    Clark Terrell Lieutenant Commander

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Location:
    USS Reliant
    We don't know how much time passed between Enterprise leaving dry-dock and Kirk receiving Carol's message. And if I remember correctly, Kirk's line about the Enterprise being the only ship in the quadrant was intended to refer to the Beta Quadrant, something that actually makes it more plausible for Kruge and his men to reach Genesis undetected in the next film, as they were already in the relative vicinity.
     
  8. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    TOS didn't use quadrants in the same strict was as the later series'--only TUC used it in the same format as TNG and the others--so the quadrant Kirk mentions might not be a quarter of the Milky Way.

    As for Earth being poorly defended, it always does seem convenient that our heroes are the only ones that are near enough to save the day. Unless most of the fleet is on deployment, leaving planets to be defended by satellites and surface-to-orbit weaponry.
     
  9. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    "You wanna defend a planet right? Do it yourself. Everyone is responsible for their own orbital defense platform." - Except from the Republican Defense Space Manual (out of print)
     
  10. Clark Terrell

    Clark Terrell Lieutenant Commander

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Location:
    USS Reliant
    Good point, as TOS often used the term interchangeably with sector.

    The only time I've taken issue with that is The Motion Picture. While the V'Ger problem was unforeseeable, it seems extremely poor planning on Starfleet's part to have only a single ship-- and a ship that's not finished, at that-- in the relative vicinity of Earth. TVH caught our heroes as they were coming back from Vulcan. TFF acknowledged that there were other ships but no experienced starship captains. And the Enterprise's involvement in TUC was orchestrated in part by Spock due to his relationship with Gorkon.
     
  11. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    The use of the Enterprise despite not being quite ready in TMP would have actually been fairly easy to rationalise without making the rest of Start Fleet seem really inept. With the failure of the Klingon's showing that brute force wouldn't do it all you'd need to do is establish the Enterprise was stuffed full of the latest and most advanced scanning and scientific equipment (which was all working) and that was what was going to be needed to find out what the hell was going on with the cloud even if the engines were going to need a bit of work.

    The mention that various other starships are staying in Earth orbit as a last ditch defensive cordon, but have V'ger's Mighty Glowing Balls de-power/destroy them as it comes into orbit (you could establish that in dialogue without having to show it).
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Per Ardua
    Why is Earth so poorly defended?

    Because it isn't very dramatic if there are dozens of vessels around, all as capable of handling the crisis as the hero ship.
     
  13. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Which makes no sense, because even if Kirk was "the best man for the job," his ship clearly wasn't. So why didn't they just give Kirk command of the Excelsior for the Nimbus III mission instead?
     
  14. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Maybe nx2000 was still down from everything Scott did to it (for that matter, maybe that 'infection' jumped ship in spacedock and infected the -A ... rough justice in a way.)
     
  15. Tom

    Tom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Location:
    In your Mind!
    This is a common Star Trek Trope in not just the movies but in the TV series as well
     
  16. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Per Ardua
    I like this idea! :lol:
     
  17. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    Location:
    east coast United States
    Agree.

    The Earth orbit was crowded with starships greeting the Voyager in "Endgame" and the potential Borg arrival. ;)
     
  18. Clark Terrell

    Clark Terrell Lieutenant Commander

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Location:
    USS Reliant
    At risk of committing blasphemy, I'd have been okay with Kirk and company getting an Excelsior-class vessel at the end of TVH. They could still have named it Enterprise.
     
  19. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Objection: the Enterprise-A, for all its annoying little glitches, had all its mission-critical systems working except for the transporters, and there was good reason to think those might be functional by the time the ship arrived at Nimbus III. And as a hostage rescue could be done acceptably without transporters, those weren't mission-critical systems.

    Yeah, it's nice to have turbo-lift doors that don't get stuck, but having them fixed won't help you against mind-control.
     
  20. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    But it's not like Starfleet was even aware of any mind-control issues when Admiral Harve assigned Kirk to the mission. And as for my example about the Excelsior, it was just academic. Starfleet could have given Kirk command of any ship in the fleet for this mission. It was just negligence on their part that they insisted he use the Enterprise, which even Kirk himself admitted was a bad idea.