Unfortunate implications of Star Trek IV, or: an un-recognised way that Kirk is a massive jerk.

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by BlastHardcheese, Jul 27, 2019.

  1. BlastHardcheese

    BlastHardcheese Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Everyone remember when Kirk was going to leave Gillian Taylor in 1986? This may have been talked about before, but I'm rewatching The Voyage home and thinking about it just made my jaw drop. I'd like to explore the implications of it with two scenarios. All the facts I'm presenting are taken from Memory Alpha.

    First scenario:
    Kirk knew about the rise of Khan in 1992 and the eugenics wars. Maybe it was like the real world conflict in the middle east with groups like ISIS, but also encompassing India and China with militant groups actually succeeding in forming new nation states with social darwinism instead of religion as the primary driver. Whatever the case, thirty million people died in that conflict in the Trek universe, which may have included people in western countries.

    Second scenario:
    Kirk knew about World War III. Catherine Hicks, the actress who played Gillian is 67 years old as of 2019. That means she was 34 in 1986. For the sake of argument, let's assume Dr. Taylor was also 34 in The Voyage Home. In the Trek universe, the third world war started in 2026, ended in 2053, involved nuclear weapons, and had a death toll of 600 million people. I will restate: Kirk would have had some basic knowledge of this. Assuming Gillian was still alive at the ripe old age of 74 and wasn't vaporized in a nuclear exchange in those 27 years of war, she and her family including any children and grandchildren she might have had, would likely have died a slow painful death from radiation poisoning, living long enough to see the utter collapse of humanity and the glorious age of the post-atomic horror. She wouldn't have lived long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel with Zefram Cochrane's warp drive and the arrival of the Vulcans.

    And Kirk was happy to let Gillian live through those events. What in the goddamn.

    This is the kind of thing that happens when you build a fictional world up to be so large with such a detailed history, and just have too much history built in so that everyone who writes stories for it can't possibly keep track of everything in that world. It relies on the audience not knowing all the history and details so that they can buy into each self-contained story and enjoy it for what it is. Sometimes it really hurts my brain to be a nerd.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
  2. Khan 2.0

    Khan 2.0 Commodore Commodore

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    I guess Kirk figured shed make it through Khan ... and as for WW3 it so far along she might be dead then anyway..
     
  3. BlastHardcheese

    BlastHardcheese Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    But if she was still alive at 74, she would've seen the nukes fly and thought "Admiral Kirk, why did you abandon me to THIS?"
     
  4. Khan 2.0

    Khan 2.0 Commodore Commodore

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    well there was also the problem of taking her from her own time. what if she went on to do something important or had a son/daughter who was future president or a john conner type etc . he didn't have any Starfleet library to check her out so better to leave her there :)
     
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  5. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, in the end taking her from 1986 was pretty reckless.

    Taking the whales was kind of reckless too, really, but I'm not sure Our Heroes had a better option.
     
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  6. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    The business with Edith Keeler and a few other incidents showed Kirk what changes to the timeline could do.
     
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  7. Khan 2.0

    Khan 2.0 Commodore Commodore

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    after they got the whales I guess Kirk could've had spock nerve pinch her and then carry her to the transporter room beam her onto the whale ship. or maybe zoom back to san fran and beam her back in the park. it would've been the logical thing to do considering they didnt know if she was going to have any impact in the future.. plus as kirk said to her later shed have been better off staying as it wasn't certain theyd make it back to the 23rd. (maybe kirk felt he was so 'winging' the whole mission that her 'abduction' wouldn't really matter in the scheme of things and /or she was potentially pretty insignificant in terms of history - unlike Edith..)
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  8. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, we know the timeline Our Heroes end up in isn't the same as the one they left (unless you want to argue it was a Predestination Paradox), we just don't know how different it is from the one they started out in.
     
  9. Spocktoberfest!

    Spocktoberfest! Commodore Commodore

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    The whole plot of that movie was jerky. How would the whales speak to what ever sent that probe, do they have subspace transmitters in the ocean? The probe just about destroys everything in it's path and starts destroying the planet of the ones they haven't heard from, it's like your friend across town won't return your phone calls to you shoot up his neighborhood and start to burn down his house until he calls you. Then they figure out it's speaking "whale" but don't try to answer because it will be "gibberish" when the universal translator can talk to anything including clouds and even tell you they are a "girl" cloud, but doesn't speak whale.

    Dr. McCoy fixed that old lady's kidney and Scotty gave away the formula to transparent aluminum, how could the time line have not been altered. Scotty actually said, "maybe he invented it" like he didn't know, I'd expect Scotty to know the guy's name, where he lived, the date of the discovery, and so on.

    I can do this all day, but I'm going to stop now.
     
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  10. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Kirk wouldn't have been happy about possibly leaving Gillian to die the way she originally had in history, but he had absolutely no idea what her fate was and no way to find out. I doubt that even with a Klingon Bird Of Prey extensively altered by the Vulcans, they had access to a whole lot of Earth history the way they would on a Starfleet vessel. And Kirk knew from past experience that fiddling with history was tricky stuff. Look at what happened with Edith Keeler.
    It's an alien probe that was directing a signal towards Earth's oceans. Presumably they had some means of detecting the whale song. So it's not a case of the whales transmitting a signal beyond the oceans, it's a case of the alien ship reading it with their technology somehow.
    It wasn't intentional, malicious destruction. It's pretty clear that the probe didn't realize what it was doing. At most, you could say it was oblivious to anything except getting a response.
    Earth whale song wasn't a language that was anything like what the universal translator had been programmed with/for. (And if you want to say that this is because they were working with a Klingon or Vulcan UT, go right ahead.) So any response that Kirk & co. tried to make would be like an English speaker trying to imitate the sound of French without being fluent in French. As Spock said, you'd be responding in gibberish.
     
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  11. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The novelization of the film, IIRC, has McCoy bring up Edith to Kirk before they travel back in time, and Kirk is less than happy with him about pushing that particular button.
     
  12. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    Lore is the UT works on brainwaves when used for in-person communication, and ships' computers handle the nuts-and-bolts of establishing a translation behind the scenes for ship-to-ship first contacts. No living humpback whales means no brainwaves to scan to look for commonalities.

    The Autobiography of James Kirk has a sweet little line where after Gillian shoots down Kirk at his demotion party, he consoles himself that this time he was able to save the nice lady from the past, and felt that giving her a new life was a little way of atoning for not being able to save Edith.
     
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  13. tafkats

    tafkats Vice Admiral Admiral

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    By 1986, I assume everyone writing for Trek had decided to ignore the whole "genetically engineered supermen will take over the world in the next 10 years" thing.
     
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  14. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps Taylor and/or George and Gracie originally played a key role in the rise of the supermen? ;)
     
  15. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So...by saving Taylor, Khan never comes into existence, which means TWOK never happens, which means Our Heroes aren't on Vulcan when the whale probe comes visiting, which means they never save Tay...and I've gone cross-eyed! :p
     
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  16. Vger23

    Vger23 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This confirms it. Kirk sucks.
     
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  17. Khan 2.0

    Khan 2.0 Commodore Commodore

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    its a wonder Gillian didn't turn up in another movie. I mean TVH was such a huge hit and everyone loved it (back then) and she seemed a popular character that youd think theyd bring her back somehow for a fun cameo - maybe in VI? (she mustve been a Meyer created character as he wrote all the 20th century parts of IV) had they had the budget to do the lost opening of Kirk rounding up the 'magnificent 7' maybe she could've appeared somehow visiting Kirk or Kirk visiting the whales or something
     
  18. urbandefault

    urbandefault Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A. They were just supposed to be going home to face court martial for stealing and destroying the Enterprise, violating restricted space, etc. Short little hop. No need to download all the Federation/Starfleet history files. Changing out the food packs was plenty.
    B. Kirk and crew were a little busy, what with looking for whales and modding the ship to transport them and fixing the ship so it would get off the ground again and Spock not quite being his old self yet and Sulu stealing a Huey and Scotty giving away the farm and Chekov falling off an aircraft carrier and whatnot. Not surprised that no one worried about Khan and stuff with all that going on.
    C. They were taking a big enough risk of altering the timeline just by their presence there, not to mention all the stuff they had to do to get the whales and get back. No way would Kirk plan on bringing Gillian back to the future.
    D. Oh, and way to go, ruining a perfectly good movie. :techman:
     
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  19. jaime

    jaime Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The movie flags the predestination parados from the moment they slingshot. ‘There be whales here’ etc in the trippy sequence.
    Between that and the way we pick up th future segment on Earth right as we left it, it’s pretty clearly the same timeline and the whole thing was predestination with a dash of bootstrap.
     
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  20. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure how you could clearly say that something is a predestination paradox unless you had evidence from the past showing that time travel had/would occur.