Should the Burn Have Been Worse?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by Go-Captain, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    Would a worse Burn have worked better as a setting and explanation for the setting's peculiarities? If the Burn had effected trillions instead of millions, by effecting subspace antennas like an EMP instead of dilithium, it might have explained diminished technology, communication, and numbers in a single move. But, if the Burn is too strong it becomes harder to reasonably keep the Federation a bastion of peace and progress.
     
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  2. nic3636

    nic3636 Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think they did enough worldbuilding to know how bad the burn really was. We know that every ship with an active warp core exploded and that the Federation fell apart because of it, but since all the information we got was through conversation, it's hard to know exactly how devastating it was. They mentioned diminished communications so it's possible the burn had other effects on technology, not just warp cores.

    I think the information we got on the burn was proportional to the rest of the plot (meaning, I don't think getting more detail on the burn would have made the overall story better).
     
  3. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think it needed to be worse. I think the fracturing of political powers, the significant loss of starships and lives and people just trying to survive worked fine as presented.
     
  4. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That point where Detmer asked "how many people died?" and Burnham said "millions!" made me roll my eyes a bit to be honest.

    I mean, I suppose it's possible that there were mere millions in active transit across the galaxy at the moment it happened. But we know there were planets like Trill where the majority of the population seems to have died off. And technology (or at least practical application) seems to have reverted a bit. The death toll should have been in the hundreds billions, if not trillions, if it's really galaxy wide and not just across known space.
     
  5. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Commodore Commodore

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    Maybe that strong a signal in subspace burned it out?
     
  6. darrenjl

    darrenjl Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It's still not know officially how far out the Burn extended. It seemed early on to affect the whole galaxy, like some kind of cataclysmic, once in a billion year event that decimated connections between worlds and caused power structures to collapse. As the season progressed, it changed to simply affecting the Federation, with travel between worlds still perfectly possible; although everyone was fearful another Burn event could happen at any time.

    What doesn't make sense is how far communications between worlds was affected. Subspace signals still seemed to work fine, communications reached fine between Federation HQ and various worlds, so it doesn't seem to me the whole premise of the Federation collapsing out of all its connections disintegrating seems fallible. It's a bit like countries on Earth suddenly losing touch with each other if the Internet went down and all flights were suspended. Sure, things would be difficult, but people and governments would adapt to maintain order at all possible costs. The idea that these Federation world's, Earth especially, would be allowed to leave without a non-physical fight is completely preposterous. A founding world of a millennia-lasting alliance not doing all it can do to adapt to this post-Burn galaxy? Ridiculous.

    If the Burn affected the whole galaxy, then everyone will be out to get the Federations' blood when they find out who is responsible. Maybe that's season 4's plot? I just don't see how the Burn could have had such a fatal impact on say, the outer reaches of the Delta Quadrant, or across the Dominion territories of the Gamma Quadrant, without someone somewhere putting together some kind of investigation that it originated in the Alpha Quadrant, and this information being relayed to someone, somewhere to send a few ships to find out what the hell happened.
     
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  7. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    @darrenj It wasn't exactly the Federation's fault though, especially given how it was not an experiment like SB19, unless you are referring to how no one responded to Su'kal's ship's distress signal pre-Burn. There is the implication that the Federation did nothing to help, but it is also never pointed out as a hindsight solution. In TNG, if important, I think they would have definitely pointed out how the ship could have been saved, which would avoid the Burn, and they would have built the episode around that and its themes.

    I do like the idea that it's range isn't actually known. DIS has seriously problems with scope and scale so I doubt it will turn out to be anything less than the whole galaxy being effected, and I expect the whole thing to be forgotten next season. With a worse Burn I would hope its effects would be too great to ignore part way through the story.

    I see Earth leaving as an extension of how Worf was able to leave Starfleet at will and later return without any loss of position and rank. That puts the Federation into much of an EU, UN, NATO concept than Space USA. The problem is Earth and Vulcan leaving really needed the context for why they left. The Ni'var say it was being forced to use SB19, but not just that, that it had several other unexplained reasons for leaving. We need those unexplained reasons for context, because the closest we get to context is some nebulous indications the Federation was overstretched pre-Burn, and maybe failing its obligations to founding members as per how the Andorian rebel says the Federation is infamous for not keeping promises. Exploring those reasons through the Chain could have been really interesting, and a way to characterize the Chain earlier and more permanently as more than just a fragile union of mobsters.
     
  8. nic3636

    nic3636 Commander Red Shirt

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    This is why I think some sequential 2-3 episode arcs would be a good fit for S4, or at least for the first half. You could have a separate arc around Earth and Vulcan, each about them potentially re-joining which would dive into the background of why they really left the Federation. It would be great if it was revealed that the Federation did some horrible things in their desperation which contributed to these core worlds leaving, which would build on the hints dropped here and there this season that the Federation wasn't always on the level. It would also help with the overall world building.
     
  9. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    We don't know how the other 90% of the former Federation is fairing. So it could be a ton worse than what Vance or Burnham know. That might just be what the crew discovers in the fourth season.
     
  10. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    I wish it would have been something environmental. I mean the end of the first episode the vibe I got for the season was something of a Global Warming type message, or doing better to take care of the environment. I think the Burn shouldn't have been something from someone, but something from many different people. Maybe you have factions like the Nai'varians (?) and the Emerald Chain and the Federation all fighting for a limited supply of something, mainly because they didn't learn from their past mistake of abusing Delethium which caused the Burn or something to that effect. Maybe the animal creatures from the first episode would have had a much bigger impact. It would have been nice world building and really set the stage for life in the 32nd century.
     
  11. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    They could have gone with subspace degradation. Have it so the Federation switches from warp in time, but all the other less advanced civilizations, especially emerging ones, have to use conventional warp. The only alternative would be technological exchange, but that would be an impossible undertaking to reach every civilization in time and upgrade them. It would also make Prime Directive hardliners squeemish.
     
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  12. Borgminister

    Borgminister Admiral Moderator

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    Well I just got done watching the last two episodes of Discovery season 3 and must confess to being let down as to the big picture that might have been. I mean the Xindi arc on Enterprise, wormhole aliens on DS9, even the Krenim on Voyager had the outlines of high-concept ambition. A scared child in a simulation being responsible for the Burn seems rather a pat letdown to me, although the execution was top-notch and the message solidly Trekkian. I liked the two-part sendoff for Philippa much better, the can't teach and old dog new tricks message combined with the Guardian of Forever was almost irresistible. The Osyraa story line was interesting to a point, but again pretty rote and not all that inspiring, the 6-valve heart notwithstanding. It was good to see Kenneth Mitchell in a solid role, bless his heart and courage, and one hopes he'll be there for season 4...

    Edit: Posting here so as not to dredge up the 2 reaction threads...
     
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  13. ScottJ85

    ScottJ85 Captain Captain

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    I had mixed feelings about it myself but I was hoping for something unexpected completely out of left field and I suppose that’s what I got.
     
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  14. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This is my largely my view. I didn't want the Burn to be some great big tragedy that was entirely an attack or something that couldn't be prevented. I was hoping for something quite different and that's what I got. It was, as @Borgminister notes, rather in line with past Trek problems and solutions.

    I didn't feel letdown largely because I didn't want it to be something gigantic and requiring a huge technobabble solution. It came down to a very quiet and simple connection between two beings. More interesting to me.
     
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  15. Yistaan

    Yistaan Commodore Commodore

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    The Burn sort of goes against everything that was in TNG's plans. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that dilithium was meant to be infinitely replenishable by TNG so that it wouldn't be used as a crutch plot device (the Enterprise lost all its dilithium and needs to get it from the Klingons etc.)

    If they just had to make dilithium scarce, they should have followed on that other TNG episode where dilithium was causing subspace pollution or something. What we got here was an unextremely unlikely scenario (Kelpien mutant destroys all dilithium) with an extremely unlikely solution (1,000 year old Kelpien saves the day--I don't know about you, but if I met any humans from 1,000 years ago I'd probably have a hard time relating to them). The whole Burn setup felt like a contrived obstacle for Discovery to solve rather than any natural extrapolation of what the Trek galaxy would look like going by the status quo seen in TNG/Picard. Androids aren't even mentioned for example.
     
  16. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Define natural extrapolation in a fictional universe, because I don't see the difficulty. TNG's status quo certainly had to change from Picard to the Temporal Wars (or whatever) to then the Burn. Not saying it's exactly how I would have done it but that doesn't make it unnatural in its extrapolation.

    Also, a 1000 year old human and I could probably find common ground. Humans still have common needs, wants and desires (food, safety, shelter), as well as pretty common emotional reference points (from what the research has done). I am confident that I could find something to relate to. But, then again, that's what I'm trained to do is relate to people.
     
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  17. Borgminister

    Borgminister Admiral Moderator

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    I understand the sentiment, and the actual point of facing your fears together as inclusive family was well made, it's just that after diving 900 years into the future and facing that kind of catastrophic, Federation crippling event, the two-part finale was more a paint-by-the-numbers action sequence resolution, and the feel-good wrapping up of the burn mystery a vehicle for Burnham to attain the captaincy. Taking nothing away from the production, direction and acting, which were outstanding as usual. I'm curious to see where season 4 takes us, and eagerly await all the other Trek variations to come... Instead of a few 26 episode series, there are now what, 5 or so ones in the works at 10 to 13 episodes apiece? Works for me--LLAP!
     
  18. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Admiral Premium Member

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    YES and yes, and yes.

    The burn should have been a lot worse and that would have made it better.
     
  19. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    I think I would be fine with what we got if it weren’t the pay off but a lead into a moral dilemma. That way it’s just an excuse to have a debate rather than what we are actually focused on.

    Alternatively they could have just said they know what the Burn is and Burnham’s search was pointless and leave it at that, no explanation. It’s not like the Burn motivation was needed for Su’kal’s search to happen. They could have run across him accidentally at some point.
     
  20. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Admiral Premium Member

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    Interesting thing I found on another site, can't vouch for this but apparently the Burn was based on Le Guin's The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (like the manga/anime Dororo) about a utopia maintained by the suffering of a single child.