Possible Game: Logic Holes and Can We Fill Them In?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by A.V.I.A.F., May 27, 2011.

  1. A.V.I.A.F.

    A.V.I.A.F. Captain

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    Hi All:

    I don't know if this has already been done on this forum (I have not been able to read every single thread), but I have an idea for a possible game or even just a point of discussion. We all know that TOS's episodes sometimes have gaping logic holes (or even tiny ones). My wife, who is not a fan, enjoys pointing these out and I enjoy finding ways of filling them (resolving these logic holes by drawing from the wider context of the TOS universe).

    My idea is this: Someone points out a logic hole from a TOS episode and then the others try to find "realistic" justifications for them. In other words, the proposed solutions have to make sense (either by drawing from something from other episodes, or from the wider context of TOS), basically, our solutions have to be plausible. Here is one to get us started:

    1) In The Enemy Within, why don't they just send a shuttlecraft down to pick up Sulu and the others before the planet got so cold? This would have allowed our heroes already on board the Enterprise to focus solely on the problem of fixing the transporter and putting Kirk back together again and would have taken a lot of the edge off.
     
  2. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    ^^ My idea is either there was a temporary yet not discussed problem with the hangar doors or that the planet's weather was too extreme to risk the shuttlecraft in atmospheric flight.
     
  3. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Due to a typical organizational SNAFU, the Enterprise had been required to unload her obsolete E-class shuttlecraft at a starbase before the new F-class shuttlecraft had been delivered to replace them. Thus the ship had to go on several scheduled missions sans shuttles before the new ones were available for pick-up. Kirk thought, hey, as long as we still have the transporters, what could go wrong?
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    I always just thought that extreme weather kept them from attempting rescue via shuttlecraft.

    *Or*

    They weren't scheduled to receive them until Tuesday.
     
  5. EnsignHarper

    EnsignHarper Captain Captain

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    If you look at the terrain shown, perhaps there was no where to land with 1000 km....
     
  6. A.V.I.A.F.

    A.V.I.A.F. Captain

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    Wow! Some really cool and plausible answers here along with some very funny ones. I am not going to pick a winner because this isn't a contest (unless you want it to be, in which case I can certainly pick some winners).

    Before we decide that, here is another logic hole that I would like you to fill. In "The Enterprise Incident" the Romulan Commander (Joanne Linville) doesn't kill herself after she has been defeated. I thought this was the Romulan way as per Mark Lenard in "Balance of Terror." Sure, she orders Tal to destroy the Enterprise even though she happens to be on it at the time, but when Kirk and the rest manage to outsmart Tal, she graciously accepts her fate and thanks Kirk for his generosity at offering her quarters rather than confining her to the brig while she waits to be dropped off at the nearest starbase.

    Therein lies another hole. One would assume that the Romulan Commander is worth more to Starfleet alive than dead. Why does Kirk send her to "her quarters" (probably one suitable for a commanding officer), instead of to a secure location (like the brig) where guards can make sure she doesn't "play the Roman fool and die on [her] own sword" as Macbeth would say? Or worse, run off to Engineering and sabotage the stolen cloaking device before offing herself.

    So I guess there are two holes here to fill (let's not get cheeky-LOL):

    1) Why doesn't she kill herself?
    2) Why does Kirk allow her to be kept in quarters where presumably she is more likely to do herself in (say by hanging herself while the doors are closed or slitting her wrists in the washroom adjacent to the quarters like the one in "Elaan of Troyius") than if she were kept in the brig until she's dropped off at a star-base for questioning?
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe Kirk is acknowledging her the right to off herself with some measure of dignity? Okay, maybe not.

    It could also be that the Romulan Commander in "Balance Of Terror" self-destructed to prevent capture of the Romulan ship and in extent the cloaking system. "I've been defeated, but I'm taking our secrets with me."
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Was it? The BoT Commander's statements did imply a "With your shield or on it" mentality, either come back victorious or not at all. Or maybe a mentality of refusing to be taken alive, like TNG Klingons. But then, that Commander was shown to be a member of an older generation whose standards of honor weren't shared by the younger majority. It's possible the EI Commander simply didn't share that old-guard mentality. It's never a mistake to show the members of an alien culture as individuals with distinct values and practices rather than as interchangeable stereotypes.


    No doubt she was confined to those quarters with a guard outside. And the quarters could've been stripped of anything she could use to kill herself, the food slot restricted from giving her any sharp knives or glass items.


    How do we know she didn't? The episode ended only a couple of minutes after the last time we saw her, and the character never appeared again in any canonical installment (although numerous tie-in books and comics have established her as either still alive in later years or executed in disgrace by her government).
     
  9. A.V.I.A.F.

    A.V.I.A.F. Captain

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    Hmmm? Not sure I agree with your logic here. She is a high ranking Commander with the power to get Spock his own command. She willingly throws herself into the lion's den by jumping onto Spock when she hears the transporter beam activated during Spock's confession (ensuring that she will be unarmed and unassisted when she materializes with Spock on board Enterprise). She orders Tal to destroy Enterprise while she is on board her. She strikes me as pretty old-school when it comes to the whole "death before dishonor" philosophy.


    That sounds like it would be a pretty empty and un-luxurious room, Kirk might as well have sent her to the brig!


    I have never read these novels, but would like to. Can you give me the titles of them? However, if she is later executed by the Romulans doesn't this suggest that she was expected to do the "honorable thing" and kill herself? Perhaps she was blinded by love (or lust) for Spock? Great ideas by the way, I love how everyone is really thinking about this. Keep 'em coming please!
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't see that. Jumping into the transporter beam was an impulsive move that's hard to characterize a clear motive for, but I don't see how you can get "suicidal" from it. If anything, I think the writers' intent was more that she was a lovesick female who wasn't thinking clearly because she was gaga over Spock, and thereby let herself be not only duped but taken prisoner as well.

    The order to destroy the ship was a tactical move mandated by military necessity; Kirk has given similar orders in similar situations, treating himself as expendable for the safety of the ship or the Federation, but that doesn't mean Kirk is culturally predisposed to suicide.


    Appearances matter. A prisoner of war wouldn't expect luxury or comfort, but confining her to quarters would let her retain some semblance of dignity and privacy that confinement to the brig would not.


    Ohh, there are a ton of them. In the early years of Trek Lit, the Female Romulan Commander was pretty much the most popular guest character to bring back, or at least to be alluded to in other Romulan-themed novels. Let's see, here's a probably incomplete list:

    The Price of the Phoenix and The Fate of the Phoenix by Sondra Marshak & Myrna Culbreath (from Bantam) show the Commander as still having her rank and position and becoming a tenuous ally of Kirk and Spock in dealing with the villain Omne. In the second book, she's named Di'on Charvon. (These books are widely reviled, though, for their fannish excess, corny romance-novelish writing, and slashy subtext. Read at your own risk.)

    Black Fire by Sonni Cooper has a brief cameo by the Commander during a portion of the novel wherein Spock has apparently defected from Starfleet to become a Romulan officer, following his stint as a space pirate. (Seriously. It's one bizarre book.) Basically she just comes up to Spock at a party and tells him she was stripped of her command because of him.

    Yesterday's Son by A. C. Crispin features Subcommander Tal, who seeks revenge on Spock for his Commander's disgrace and execution.

    The Rihannsu novels by Diane Duane (My Enemy, My Ally, The Romulan Way, Swordhunt/Honor Blade, and The Empty Chair) feature a different Romulan commander named Ael who is the Commander's cousin; in these books the Commander is established to have been disgraced and exiled.

    Dwellers in the Crucible by Margaret Wander Bonanno leaves her nameless, but establishes that she was disgraced after the cloaking-device incident and needed many years to fight her way back to starship command (the novel is set a few years before TWOK). It's more or less in continuity with the Diane Duane books, although only the first Rihannsu book had been written yet when it came out.

    Killing Time by Della Van Hise names her Thea and makes her Praetor of the Romulan Empire (a secret Praetor, no less, since in this book alone, the Romulans are suddenly sexist and wouldn't tolerate a female head of state).

    In a more recent series of novels by Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz (Vulcan's Heart and the Vulcan's Soul trilogy), the Commander is named Liviana Charvanek and is shown to be still a starship commander in the early 24th century, eventually rising to the head of Romulan Security by the post-Dominion War era.

    The TOS novel Section 31: Cloak is set a few months after "The Enterprise Incident" and shows her still in Starfleet custody.

    The IDW Comics miniseries Star Trek Year Four: The Enterprise Experiment by D. C. Fontana features the Commander, showing her being released in a prisoner exchange and then getting her command back.


    Well, as the list shows, there's pretty much only the one novel that asserts she was executed. The majority show that she was punished and demoted/disgraced but still alive and able to win back her status and then some, while a few (the Phoenix novels, The Enterprise Experiment, and especially Killing Time) show her suffering no significant setbacks at all.
     
  11. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Interesting game!

    In Obsession, poor Mr. Leslie appears to bite the dust thanks to the cloud creature, yet is seen alive and well in subsequent episodes sitting at the engineering station, doing whatever he does there.
     
  12. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    That was his Twin brother.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    He wasn't identified in dialogue as Mr. Leslie. And Eddie Paskey appeared in multiple bit roles other than Leslie; for instance, he drove the truck that killed Edith Keeler and was one of the Nazi soldiers in "Patterns of Force." So just because an extra has Paskey's face, it doesn't mean that extra is Lt. Leslie -- any more than Galloway and Johnson were the same person, or the Romulan Commander and Sarek, or Melakon and Dr. Sevrin, or Number One and Nurse Chapel, or...
     
  14. A.V.I.A.F.

    A.V.I.A.F. Captain

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    Of course you're right. ST (and other shows of the time) often reused the same secondary characters for different roles within the same series. However, for the purposes of this thread, I think it would be best for all of us to restrict our proposed logic hole fillers to the context of the ST universe. In other words, no real-life explanations. The truck driver that killed Edith Keeler was perhaps an ancestor of Leslie. Lt. Leslie may indeed have had a twin brother or a non-twin brother who also served in Starfleet and who greatly resembled him. The idea of several family members all pursuing a career in Starfleet is not unusual (e.g., Stiles' family whose service is multi-generational; Mallory, whose father helped Kirk get into the academy and who presumably also was in the service; Garrovick, whose father was Kirk's captain on the Farragut; etc..).
     
  15. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Funny...I've never read the Romulans as 'death before dishonor' types; that was more the Klingon's bag. Although probably just not been paying attention in class :) As warped9 said, I could imagine any enemy commander not necessarily wanting to surrender tech/ship.

    As for the brig thing, good old-fashioned Roddenberry sexism :lol: Did they ever put a female in the brig?
     
  16. A.V.I.A.F.

    A.V.I.A.F. Captain

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    Janice Lester, but that was while a woman was inhabiting Kirk.
     
  17. Hambone

    Hambone Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Mirror Uhura.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think that approach can be taken too far, especially when it comes to the way things look onscreen. Take visuals too literally and you're stuck with trying to explain why the Romulan cloaking device is made out of Nomad's head and Sargon's globe and plugged into Landru's conversion console, or why half the planets the Enterprise visits have the exact same continents, or why you can see wires controlling the Sylvia and Korob puppets. When it comes to the intent of an episode, when it's a matter of what's written in the story, what we're supposed to imagine is being represented by the actors and sets and props and special effects we're looking at, then I'm content to keep explanations in-universe. But taking every single visual image as gospel? No. That way lies madness. After all, those aren't logic holes, which are the subject of this thread. A logic hole is an inconsistency in the ideas or events of an episode. Something like the same bit player appearing in two different roles is just a production glitch, not a logic glitch. It's a different type of problem.


    No, I think it's just the courtesy a ship commander would be expected to offer another ship commander, even a prisoner of war.
     
  19. A.V.I.A.F.

    A.V.I.A.F. Captain

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    Yes, that's right. It could create a slippery slope otherwise. That sounds fair.


    Very true also. After all, Kirk extended a similar courtesy (if I am not mistaken) to Kang and his officers in Day of the Dove where he puts them up in the crew lounge and orders that the food synthesizers be programmed to suit their needs. Kirk does this despite being attacked by Kang and being forced to watch while Chekov is tortured.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Let's remember also that Lenard's Romulan character was caught doing a nasty illegal thing that could have launched an interstellar incident. Linville's Romulan character was caught by Federation spies who were doing a nasty illegal thing that could have launched an interstellar incident. In the first occasion, it was understandable that the Romulan would do himself in as penance that might appease the Federation; in the second one, it should have been Kirk cutting his own throat at capture!

    The second Romulan commander didn't exactly do anything dishonorable, except fail at stopping the villains from stealing the cloak. It's a failure, yes, but possibly a brave and honorable one suffered against insurmountable odds. And her return to the Empire might have been less gloomy than she seemed to be anticipating; no medals and parades, but no execution, either.

    One of my favorite tech logic holes: why did the Doomsday Machine, capable of slithering from star to star in a matter of months at most, fail to keep up with a starship that was at best doing 1/3 impulse?

    Probably easily patched, because a lot of Star Trek tech goes undescribed by our heroes: we have to make our own assumptions and interpretations on tech limitations and strengths. And a hole found in a single episode can probably be patched within the confines of that episode.

    Timo Saloniemi