Why did Kirk let Khan go at the end of Space Seed?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Austin 3:16, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    The job was not to fly about looking for random lifeless planets, it was to go to a known planet and verify that it was lifeless down to the microscopic level. Either Reliant's navigation was outrageously in error, or whatever orbital shift CA5 underwent moved it into the exact former position of CA6, ignoring whatever debris was left over and the total planet count. Either way, fairly dumb, but OTOH doesn't harm the movie overall, IMO.

    Who did? Arresting Saddam would have involved a fight to, in and around Baghdad, and probably an extensive manhunt to actually put the grab on him, with a lot of civilian deaths. Then there would be a post-war power void. No one knew exactly how to fill it without adverse consequences, but they knew it would take an extended military commitment. Unlike 2003, though, the GHW Bush administration understood that they didn't have a good post-war plan, so the decision was made to leave Saddam in power after he withdrew from Kuwait.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  2. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'll just chime in to suggest that perhaps Kirk did place warning buoys, but they were destroyed in the same event that destroyed Ceti Alpha VI.
     
  3. Mr Awe

    Mr Awe Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I read the novelization for TWOK waaaaay back when the movie originally came out. The scenes where Khan killed everyone on Regula 1 were chilling. He killed them by stringing them up and slowly draining their blood, IIRC 30+ years later.

    In the movie, they only briefly show our crew cutting down a body that had been strung up. I'm not sure if they filmed the other scenes but didn't include them because of their nature, or even if they were ever in the script. But, in the book, it sure creeped me out!

    Mr Awe
     
  4. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's also the question of McGivers. You'd think if she had any family they'd have protested Kirk's decision and wanted her checked up on every few months/years, or even brought back to Earth for another hearing or something.

    Of course, given how easily she was willing to side with Khan in the first place might have been too major a source of shame to warrant any of that.
     
  5. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Beacons use subspace transceivers so that distance is not a problem. Far out beacons are not affected by the interior planetary shifts. Starfleet celestial mechanics is advanced enough to predict orbital shifts, and if they did not a big indicator should alert the Science officer.
     
  6. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^But we don't know what actually happened to Ceti Alpha VI. All we have is the testimony of a less-than-entirely-sane individual reporting on something that occurred over a decade earlier. I believe that's called hearsay.

    And beacons are intended to be short-range warnings to ships getting close to planets. It wouldn't be a way for anyone to keep track of the system.

    As for McGivers, I tended to assume she didn't have anyone back home who would miss her.
     
  7. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    Up until here, I agree with you completely. However, you then said this...

    Why would they even need to go to the exact coordinates a hundred year old survey predicted? Just go to the outskirts of the system, scan for the planet they want, and fly over to it to begin their verification scan. No need to determine the number of planets, or their order.
     
  8. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Yeah, that too. She was a Starfleet commissioned officer, it's highly doubtful her commanding officer could impose any major punishment on her without a court martial.

    Because that's how people get places, they navigate to where the destination is known to be.
     
  9. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But if people aren't sure exactly where their destination may be, they're likely to get "close enough" then use their "sensors" to pinpoint the location.
     
  10. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed, only an idiot would use coordinates over the evidence of their sensors in the Trek context where planets do shift in odd ways.

    The only question here is whether Terrell should have paid attention to a potential discrepancy between the real location of the desert world in the CA system and some theoretically predicted location of the desert world in the CA system. But that's not his job. The star system is worth nothing; the desert planet is worth nothing and will soon be destroyed in the name of science; and even if Terrell did make some idle observations about the system on the side, he could rest assured that those would not benefit UFP science because the Genesis project would remain top secret and any data on CA off limits to scientists.

    Would Terrell himself benefit from a closer study of the potential discrepancy? Well, he wouldn't have to commit suicide a few scenes down the line - but that's not a likely or predictable scenario. If the planets were moving in a strange astral ballet, Terrell's starship could join the dance easily enough; if they were spontaneously blowing up, Terrell would just think "Ah, another doomsday - I'll go and have a look, just like Commodore Decker did, when I have the spare time". It's not as if anything much could pose a threat to the mighty starship and her important mission of finding a useless wasteland.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Hmm, on second thought, it appears that I don't. Whenever Kirk decided to lie to his superiors, and told the camera so, references to him making actual logs were (rather atypically) missing.

    Then again, of course they would be. :devil:

    How so? He just fought for the other side (which in McGivers' case wouldn't apply). It's not as if he did anything particularly underhanded, even. I mean, he gained control over a starship and her 430 crew bloodlessly from an underdog position, something Kirk surely would have wet dreams of. I doubt it would take Admiral Marcus' personality quirks specifically for Starfleet to offer Khan regular employment in the ranks of the Forces of Good after this incident.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Why would they be unsure? Planetary orbits are thoroughly predictable. And if they have to use sensors to make sure where they are, how about measuring orbital distance?
     
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  14. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :wtf::wtf::wtf: Taking over a ship from its captain and crew and inciting one crewmember to mutiny isn't underhanded?
    The "bloodlessly" was through the efforts of Kirk & co., not through any lack of trying on Khan's part.
    You and I have very different perceptions of the Star Trek universe. Marcus was an outlier, not the norm.
     
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  15. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I was referring to contemporary people trying to find, say "423 Main Street" in a city. I may know where Main Street is, and I may even have a pretty good idea where the 400 range is likely to be, but there's a pretty good chance I'll find a place to park first, and then narrow down the specific address by walking to it.

    Given the number of spatial anomalies et al. that we've seen in Trek, I think it's safe to say that planetary orbits are only generally thoroughly predictable.

    I don't suppose anyone with more time on their hands than I have would care to do a tally of the number of times we witnessed a situation where planets weren't where they might have reasonably been expected to be... :p
     
  16. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    The overwhelming majority of contemporary people find places in cities by using established navigation aids: street signs and house numbers. Or GPS, with a global coordinate grid.

    But Shirley we have seen enough on-course arrivals to know that displaced planets are still the exception, not the rule.
     
  17. The Grim Ghost

    The Grim Ghost Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In A Matter of Time from TNG Picard drops Hitler's name and Khan's in the same context while talking to the Professor so that has to count for something.
     
  18. alensatemybuick1

    alensatemybuick1 Commander Red Shirt

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    The discrepancy in the planet count / locations is mentioned in the novelization of TWOK, and attributed by the Reliant crew either to probe error / sloppy data archival or (considered much more unlikely, even though it turns out to be the case), alteration in the system in the 60 years since it was first charted. Also, Chekov had forgotten where Khan was stranded, though had an unexplained, vague feeling of apprehension and dread penetrating into his consciousness over the visit to the Ceti Apha system (everything falling into place only after he sees the Botany Bay ship insignia). Vonda McIntyre did a nice job of anticipating the very kinds of questions / speculations seen in this thread.
     
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  19. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    I dunno, Trek has a long tradition of crazy, power-mad flag officers.

    Kor
     
  20. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Another reason to be wary. Assuming you want you see if the planet created by the Genesis effect can support long term life, you eoueoulf want to know the stability of the system. The system in an in an unexpected configuration should at least have been modeled.