2x08 - The Communicator

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by Happenstance, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. Happenstance

    Happenstance Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Just watching "The Communicator" where Reed leaves his communicator on the surface of a pre-warp planet and has to go back to get it and it's got me thinking.

    A lot of the story is based around the fact that this is a planet on the brink of war and Archer not wanting to contaminate the culture further by admitting they are aliens. Now that's fine for most planets admittedly but this one in particular they instead pretend to be spies for the neighbouring state, basically stoking the fires and drawing the planet closer to war. That seems a lot worse than admitting they were aliens!

    EDIT: Lol typical, they mentioned it at the end. I knew it would backfire making this thread while still watching the episode but I did it anyway.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
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  2. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Archer has to tell them some kind of lie. Might as well be this. :shrug:

    Besides, both nations are paranoid enough that they would readily believe tales of espionage. It’s not likely to increase the risk of war, since both sides were surely heavily into spy shit in the first place.

    Now telling the truth, that they’re aliens...THAT might bring war.
     
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  3. Yanks

    Yanks Commodore Commodore

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    What was interesting to me was that Archer and Reed were ready to give up their lives.

    As I understand it, there is no "General Order 1" (Prime Directive) yet.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, in more or less chronological order:

    1) It's T'Pol who insist they decontaminate the place. At that point, nobody thinks it should be much of a chore.
    2) It's the locals who start insisting Archer and Reed are spies. Archer wisely argues that contradicting their captors will get them nowhere.
    3) T'Pol again opposes extradition attempts out of fear of further contamination. The humans don't really agree, but T'Pol is in charge.
    4) At the point the locals swap worldviews and start thinking of Archer and Reed as aliens, there's no real point in cooperating. Admitting to being eetees would hardly help with getting free, the supposed human aim here - before any such offer can be made, Gosis preempts it by suspecting the eetees of already having contacted the Alliance and being The Enemy.
    5) The stupid cover story is Reed's doing, and Archer can hardly start contradicting him at that point. Both admit it was stupid, though.
    6) The talk about "sacrifice" is just the two of them agreeing that rescue is unlikely - it's not up to them to save their lives. Gosis will not take Archer up on his putative offer of a grand tour of their starship no matter what.

    So to me it looks like a more or less coherent whole. Archer and Reed don't invent the concept of giving up one's life for the Prime Directive, or otherwise behave inhumanly. They just don't expect to survive, which for Reed is a natural state of being anyway. T'Pol of course sees it from her own point of view...

    That Archer doesn't believe much in last-minute rescues is a bit of a contradiction, though. The heroes have been through this very sort of thing several times already, starting with "The Andorian Incident"!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  5. WraithDukat

    WraithDukat Captain Captain

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    I don't know why they didn't just beam it up, it's the communications device surely it emits a signal that can be locked onto? It would have made more sense if he left his Tricorder or worse case scenario his Phaser.
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Quite so. But TOS a century later consistently shows that small items cannot or at least will not be beamed away - including communicators that have been left on the tables of villains who have captured the heroic landing party.

    We are left scratching our heads for an explanation. What makes it possible for Scotty to beam up anything? Sometimes Kirk flips open his communicator and perhaps presses a secret button; Reed's device would not be on this special mode, and thus could not be homed in on (the best T'Pol and Sato can do is narrow the location down to two kilometers). But sometimes Scotty picks up people who don't have communicators - say, Plasus in "The Cloud Minders". Why are they valid targets while inert or emitting-but-not-properly-beaconing communicators are not? Is it just a matter of size?

    Granted it takes quite a bit of extra doing for Scotty to to target Plasus, or Spock in "The Enterprise Incident". Perhaps no amount of doing would suffice for Archer's more primitive transporter machinery?

    In any case, consistent but weird. But consistent. And weird.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Because somebody might see it get beamed up.
     
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  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Doesn't sound like a major concern, though, as the light show is proportional to the size of the object (even if the associated whining sound isn't). And even if witnessed, it's here now, gone next, and nobody can really tell what happened. A physical recovery sounds much riskier.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Captain Captain

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    Why can't they just beam the two of them from their cells and just write off the technology ?
    Surely this last resort must have been less messy than losing (almost) the Captain and Tactical Officer.
    Do they have to have a communicator on them to be beamed aboard ?
     
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  10. Jedman67

    Jedman67 Commodore Commodore

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    This was a fairly bad episode.
     
  11. Yanks

    Yanks Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, but then we don't get the cool scene with the cloaked Suliban shuttle :nyah:
     
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  12. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yep.

    Anybody who wants to be transported has to either have a communicator on them, or be in physical contact with someone who does.

    For example: Watch the scene in TNG's "Yesterday's Enterprise" when they're on the bridge of the wrecked Enterprise-C. Beverly asks the Ent-D to transport her and Captain Garrett to the Ent-D's sickbay, but has to put her hand on Garrett's shoulder before they can be beamed out. That's because Beverly had a communicator, but Garrett didn't.

    In the ENT episode: They can't just "write off" the technology, because it could have devastating consequences if the natives find out how it works. (And this is before there ever was a Prime Directive.) The people on that planet were clearly very warlike and if they reverse engineered the communicator, who knows what could have happened.
     
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  13. Yanks

    Yanks Commodore Commodore

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    So, if you have to have a communicator on you in order to be locked onto, why not just beam the leftover technology up?
     
  14. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Again: Because somebody might SEE it being beamed up. They couldn't take that risk.
     
  15. Yanks

    Yanks Commodore Commodore

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    Well, if a body isn't attached to it I don't think would be that big a deal.
     
  16. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Captain Captain

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    They nearly lost the Captain and Chief Tactical Officer, losing technology would be the least of their worries.
    Any officer with a brain would have transported the technology on board and fuck the consequences.
    The two prisoners were already rumbled, and how their cover story was believed was dubious to say the least.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The dialogue instead makes it sound more like it was impossible to target the communicators, what with that "I can narrow it down to two square kilometers" bit and all.

    Which sounds natural enough: if your phone is lost in the room, you can locate it by dialing your number from another phone - but only if you took care to leave the sounds on. Reed wouldn't leave his beam-me-up beacon on unless there was a need, him being a professional and all.

    TNG badges can be located and beamed with little difficulty. TOS/DSC communicators can't, or at least aren't - they need to be actively used (at the very least flipped open) to enable beaming.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Jedman67

    Jedman67 Commodore Commodore

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    No. Communicators have a built in homing device which enables the transporter operator to achieve a lock on the target. However, the lack of a communicator just means the operator would have to use external means to achieve a target lock; such as "lifesigns" to distinguish a person from an object, location (next to me/the guy I'm touching) etc.
    Enterprise demonstrates the technology as less refined.
     
  19. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Captain Captain

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    That's why I asked, I thought it would be doable to beam Archer and Reed out of their cell minus communicator.
    There are other episodes of Enterprise when they'll say "can't get a lock on him/them", with the unsaid understanding that if they could get a lock, they'd transport them.
    Scan for human lifesigns, beam them to fuck up to the ship
    Sorted
     
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  20. Jedman67

    Jedman67 Commodore Commodore

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    Right; but there could be interference, for example, or an inability to localize their coordinates. Having the communicator makes it much easier to get a transporter lock, but its not strictly necessary.