What was the plan in "Errand of Mercy"?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by MAGolding, Sep 5, 2019.

  1. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    I looks like the Federation totally miscalculated the Klingon time table and size of the fleet sent to Organia. Eight ships showed up days or weeks earlier than Federation plans. Kirk's mission was doomed before it began.

    Since Sulu returned with an equal or better fleet within a day or two, the idea that ships would be ready to take up defense of the planet would be the best scenario. Kirk's probable mission was to evaluate the population/government of Organia, and make contact with them to get their permission. I surmise that friendly planetary support would be needed for a fleet in orbit. Maybe there is some legal standing to be under the protection of the Federation (invokes treaty commitments from other alliances besides just the Federation). The surprise attack of the Klingons in large force trumped his plans. I take Kirk's comment, " If you had listened to me..." was more a statement of his frustration to himself than a real complaint to the Organians.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
  2. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Imagine a house of some six people being amused by armies of warring ants!!! After a few hours it becomes tiring and the owners decided to either destroy the creatures with hot, scalding water or some powders! I mean they couldn't ask them to stop now could they, not like the Organians did to Kirk and Kor! A similar scenario! :klingon:
    JB
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Use of the euphemism "deny" already suggests to me that Starfleet had no hope of actually stopping the Klingons from having their way. At most they could stop the place from being attractive to the Klingons, in which case "their way" would consist of either steering away from the whole place or then claiming ownership but not doing anything with the place.

    That Starfleet at first only sent that one cruiser but then came back with a proper fighting force in turn suggests they never thought the Klingons would actually care. Having a team probe the place for guerilla action or nuisance ops apparently was deemed to suffice originally. Else why all the hassle of going back for reinforcements, to "alert the fleet", instead of mere references to the rest of the team arriving in X hours?

    Klingons no doubt thought likewise, or at least Kirk thought they did: he knew the enemy had the fleet there, but its arrival was an "if".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    My take on the plan is pretty simple: The cruiser in the area when hostilities started takes a position near the planet. If a Klingon ship comes, they take it out. If too large an enemy force comes, they withdraw and send word to the fleet. They don't really need the Organians' cooperation for this, the negotiations are for using the planet as a Federation operating base later on.

    Kirk's "If you had listened to me..." would refer to the fact that if he had been able to conclude negotiations he would be back on his ship and would not need to go into hiding on Organia.

    True, but starships do seem to need bases for maintenance, repair and resupply. Presumably this would be a "forward" base in the event that the war heated up in that area.
     
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  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    How do they "seem" to need those, though? I mean, which episode or movie?

    Whenever a starship arrives at a port, we specifically fail to get references to there being a resupply of topaline or tritium or water or even fresh fruit. What a ship pulls in to do is rotate crew, or give the standing crew some shore leave.

    Sure, crates of something are constantly being shuffled across the flight deck of NCC-1031 at least - even in absurd situations where the forklift pod operator flies between an incoming hostile and a firing line of heroes to deliver this all-important crate to the other side. But funnily enough, this shuffling never takes place during visits to planets or starbases. That is, we never see a starbase visit, but we may infer some take place despite the absence of relevant VFX, yet it's specifically at these moments we can infer that there is no workbee activity...

    DS9 may or may not be up to supporting starship operations; whenever we hear of logistics, the station is as likely to be a recipient as a donor. We know actual starbases repair ships, but those don't need to sit anywhere near "strategic planets" in order to do so. Or do they?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    Well, to be fair, Kirk's line of: "If you had listened to me..." in the scene below (I copied a long sequence for context):
    Is really disingenuous to the extreme. It's not like the Enterprise had a ton of equipment or troops ready to deploy on Organia when they arrived, so if Ayelborne and the council HAD listened to Kirk, Kirk and Spock would have beamed up five minutes earlier (before the Klingon Fleet arrived); called Starfleet to have them send whatever 'convoy' they had planned, and said convoy would have arrived (or been ambushed) and found Organia under Klingon control anyway (IE Kirk's missions would be considered to have failed -- YES, he would have received permission from the 'locals' - but he didn't have the means on board to immediately deploy Troops or equipment on the Ground or in space to prevent the Klingons from occupying Organia.

    So yeah, the Op's point is sound in that if sending the 1701 alone to Organia was the 'Big Plan' to keep it out of Klingon hands; the Admiralty making the decision, isn't very competent. :)
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Although again "deny" is different from "keep out of hands". Say, mousetraps actually work the better, the more the enemy lays its hands on them. Likewise, IEDs create more damage on enemy morale if they actually hit somebody. And it doesn't take starship convoys to get those in place.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But if the Organians had been corporeal creatures they may have organized themselves into a resistance movement and guerrilla groups! But they err...weren't interested one bit! :eek:
    JB
     
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  9. Cutie McWhiskers

    Cutie McWhiskers Commodore Commodore

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    Now there's a metaphor worthy of Trelane! :D
     
  10. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    "Court Martial" and "Tomorrow is Yesterday."

    From a purely naval fleet action perspective (as opposed to the expeditionary operations that we've gotten used to since WW2), the navy (Starfleet in this case) doesn't worry so much about troops on the ground, their first job is to neutralize the enemy fleet, and the sooner the better. Once that is out of the way, you have all kinds of options. No matter what the Organians thought of it, if Starfleet controls space around the planet the Klingons can't occupy it. I don't remember anything about a convoy, though.

    It does seem to be the case that the Klingons arrived in greater strength and/or earlier than anticipated. Whether it was a breakdown in Starfleet intelligence or planning, or simply bad timing, is an open question.
     
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  11. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    Opening scene: The Klingons intercept the Enterprise within seconds/minutes of Starfleet's warning of a surprise attack. How did the Klingons find the Enterprise so quickly? How did they attack the Enterprise with so little warning to get in the first shots? Obviously, their military intelligence is superior to the Federation's. Secondly, they must have some sort of stealth tech in order to get in so close, unnoticed. Kirk uses the 100% dispersal pattern phaser blasts to destroy the ship akin to The Balance of Terror situation. I conclude the Klingon ship was first cloaked, appeared in order to fire upon the Enterprise, then re-cloaked to escape. Unknown to this Klingon foe, Kirk has seen this tactic before and has fine tuned his battle response. Even though the Enterprise was damaged (Spock said they got lucky), the Enterprise destroyed the Klingon in one salvo. :techman:

    In any event, the Klingons seem to be totally aware of Starfleet's plans. They are winning the initial strategic war as we see with the Klingon's quick invasion of Organia. Maybe Starfleet will some day figure out the source of the intelligence leaks? I wonder if they have infiltrated Starfleet with human-looking Klingon spies? :whistle:
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's true that when a starship is broken, she needs to be fixed. Is there any requirement for having the repair shop situated in a strategically advantageous spot, though? Organia was in "disputed area", along an "invasion route" - a repair base pushed forward like that would seem to be at unwelcome risk.

    In contrast, we never hear of logistics associated with combat operations, and indeed get commentary about starships being self-sustaining in every respect. Except perhaps as regards impulse fuel in "Doomsday Machine" (or did Spock's ship develop a fuel tank leak there, or get stuck in the Machine's subspace seaweed?), but no starbase visit ever involved explicit or even implicit refueling.

    Indeed. Which is why Kirk and Spock beaming down would be quite odd if the idea was to stop the Klingon fleet in space - but understandable if there never was such an idea, if the Klingons were unstoppable in space, and the planet itself was to be the battleground that the landing party would rapidly prepare for anti-Klingon ops, perhaps simply by telling the locals how to deal with the inevitable occupation.

    All that Kirk has to say on that is "We will help you build defenses, build facilities-" before he's cut off. Is that what he is about to do right then and there - or how he promises to protect Organia in the long term if they now choose their side correctly and sacrifice their lives in guerilla war adequately?

    Kirk isn't offered any resources. Instead, he's ordered to do whatever is necessary, and his response to that is preparing for "lengthy negotiations" with the Organians. Which sort of works best if Organians are the only resource at Kirk's disposal.

    No character expresses surprise at the presence of Klingons, though. If anything, Kirk is surprised and relieved to find no Klingons on Organia when they first arrive... The presence of a Klingon force in the region is taken as granted, though, and its arrival on Organia is a certainty at some timepoint that Kirk thinks may affect his beam-down. Kirk also believes in them arriving in overwhelming force and instructs Sulu accordingly.

    Organia is but a point target, so it's pretty natural that Klingons would be expected to hit it first with X% odds only, even if the eventual odds are 100%. Really fortifying the place might be stupid if the war can be won elsewhere first; going "talk first" and only committing minor resources is better than committing none at all, or than committing moderate ones when major ones simply aren't available.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Judging from the beam-in scene, we see that apparently the Orgainians are not physical beings and only appear as humanoids if someone else (an alien) is on the planet. There are ZERO people in the first planet scene until Kirk and Spock beam down; then an enire flurry of activity happens. I have always taken to mean that physically the Organians were only physically represented for the benefit of the visitors. So, how did the scanners pick-up a population to make a determination as to where the population center was?
     
  14. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The computers were affected by the Organian's minds! Plus maybe they wanted to welcome aliens to their world until it became obvious that they were about to be playing children's games with their planet! :klingon:
    JB
     
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  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No proof that they homed in on "the" center - they might have picked a village at random.

    Indeed, the fact that there are castle ruins in the beam-down area is pointed out by Spock as an aberration, inconsistent with Starfleet's previous data on the place:

    It would seem Organia originally projected the image of a primitive and unattractive culture to passing probes and the like, and then added a castle when it appeared Kirk needed to meet authority figures. But the castle did not prompt the visit - it surprised Kirk and Spock.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  16. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    In other episodes they said the Enterprise could just wipe out planet populations so whats the use of any ground troops and supplies?
    Presumably the Klingons could do the same..
    Unless both sides were going to agree to not commit genocide.
     
  17. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    What good is a base without people to service it? Or buildings? Or power? Or crops/food? Or etc...
     
  18. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    An Empire is only an empire if it is expanding! If the Klingons destroyed all the planets that refused to join their culture then how could they grow and prosper? Lacking the Federation's style of negotiating they blast the cities and send in the troops and then afterwards move in and put in their puppet governors! :klingon:
    JB
     
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  19. cgervasi

    cgervasi Commander Red Shirt

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    Right. Kirk and Spock were able to cause problems for the Klingons. Imagine if they had been a bronze age society on Earth and had conflicts among city states. Imagine if Kirk and Spock had convinced them to band together against a greater threat, as sometimes happens in history. The Enterprise could have equipped them basic weapons, defenses, and medical/repair technology. Even if they only could arm 100 people, it would be more than what Kirk and Spock alone could do.

    Spock correctly pointed out, before they knew how passive the Organians were, that this process would be time consuming, and the Klingons would arrive soon.

    So I think Kirk is correct that if the Organians (assuming they were a real bronze age society and not advanced beings) could have resisted the Klingon occupation by siding quickly with the Federation.
     
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