Why did the Xindi test their weapon on earth (and not another planet)?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by at Quark's, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    OK, so you believe humanity will destroy your species in four hundred years or so, so you decide to wipe out humanity, in fact, literally blow up Earth.(a bit of overkill if you ask me, if a stealthy virus could have done the same job, but OK).

    That's no trivial task, so you have to design and test in several phases. That's all understandable.

    But why did they test one of their designs on earth itself? I mean, I can understand that you want to perform certain test in environments that are as much like the target environment as possible, but still ... did they hope humanity wouldn't notice or care? Did they hope humanity wouldn't be able to find out who did this to them in time? Why spoil their element of surprise in the first place, given how many inhabitable (but uninhabited) planets there seem to be they could have chosen for their test?
     
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  2. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

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    good points, now you mention it.

    Xindi seemed like an otherwise powerful space-faring nation that did EVERYTHING by committee. That decision probably took 60 meetings, three focus groups, and the smart-alec who suggested they test the weapon in that same solar system where they always tested their weapons was demoted to Minister for Left Handed Janitorial Education Programs.
     
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  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Also, two good reasons why what they did should not have been a problem at all:

    1) There's no way the test, whether success or failure, could have backlashed: it was untraceable to the Xindi. Future Guy simply cheated there, a factor that the Sphere Builders themselves might have anticipated but the Xindi never could have.
    2) The Xindi could always have made the actual deed BEFORE the test, once the test panned out or revealed the need for improvement. After all, their benefactors were time travelers! ...Who were deliberately ambiguous about their abilities.

    The Sphere Builders thus were hoist to their own petard, in letting the Xindi think more highly of their bosses than was healthy.

    Of course, the first death star already was a pretty nifty killing machine, basically the firepower of a 24th century starship packed in a spacecraft the apparent size of a van. Perhaps it could have finished off Earth and mankind all on its own, had it not malfunctioned. And sending another one, or three identical ones, would no doubt have spelled end to Earth all right. But the Xindi instead decided that since no harm had been done by the initial failure, they could afford to go big. And once they realized that harm had indeed been done, it was too late to change course. Even though the Insectoids sure tried.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    True, we don't know how much the Xindi themselves knew about the TCW and potential other factions in it; probably little to nothing. Still, the least the Sphere Builders could have done was to warn the Xindi to not wake 'sleeping dogs' with such tests, be that 22nd century Earth or any of the other factions in the TCW.

    Possibly, they built those immense spheres in the Delphic Expanse before or in the 22nd century, too, after all. Which begs the question, rather than just sending over crucial but small pieces of technology, why didn't they just send over the completed doomsday weapon to the Xindy, or at least telegraph its complete design (and how to construct it) to the past, not risking any discovery until it was too late?
     
  5. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The deathstar didn't go straight to Alderaan to test the laser, they tested on other planets etc. first.
    It was stupid to test it on Earth, Now if they thought that was the best they were going to do, then maybe, but it being a test run, yes it killed many, but it alerted your enemy to your existence. So now Earth is looking for you. If you are capable, or will be capable of a killing blow, you wait till your ready. and you test on unhabited planets.
    But if they didn't then we wouldnt have a show, and we'd be trying to explain why Earth exploded in the 22nd centery.
     
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  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Umm, why would we assume the first probe was not tested on another planet first?

    It succeeded in getting the destruction of Earth started. And then it failed. No doubt the Council went to conniptions over that, and accusations flew - but that would have been before the camera joined the action. At that point, the failure of the first death star would be a done deal, and the debates we saw would be about other things.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Captain Captain

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    Which would have been both shocking and made for a completely different show.

    ------------------------------------

    Considering the Sphere Builders involvement, and their time travel abilities, something I've always wondered is why didn’t they just order the Xindi to target Starfleet HQ instead of allowing them to fire on somewhere random on Earth, like Florida? Its not like Starfleet had any plans to change its HQ location on Earth in 400 years. As far as we know, its still based in San Francisco in the 25th and 26th centuries. And surely it would have led to a disorganized response from Earth.

    It’s like the Sphere Builders were lazy and negligent in their research not just on Earth in the 22nd century, but in general.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Another thing we don't know is whether the first probe hit the intended targets. There's no particular reason to think it did not blow up absolutely essential Starfleet facilities - indeed, the relatives of a Starfleet employee being in the path of destruction might be a direct hint that there's a Starfleet place of employ in Florida.

    (Or, possibly, in Venezuela - we can clearly see the destruction never hits Panama City, FL, but it does hit Panama City, Panama aka Venezuela! Was that where Trip's sister actually lived?)

    In any case, hitting the shores and center of the Caribbean might have been a smart strategic move, destroying the anti-starship fortresses of the Western Hemisphere, blowing up a thousand interceptors home-based in Havana, and knocking out the global communications hub at Panama City. And leaving the Admirals in San Francisco high and dry, with nothing but their desks to fly and fight with.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Yanks

    Yanks Commodore Commodore

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    No reason given.

    This is the dumbest thing about Season 3.
     
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  10. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Captain Captain

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    Trip’s sister lived in Florida. Malcom and him visited the town where she lived when it was destroyed. Trip even tells Degra that’s one of the places the Xindi hit and that's where she lived. She was an architect, although we weren’t told what she had helped design specifically. It was also never mentioned if she worked for Starfleet., although I never got the sense that she did.

    The issue at the time of airing was that the casualty total seemed low. Although if the Xindi probe hit Panama City (and maybe Havana?), it explains the death toll given.

    And if the Xindi were going to hit sensitive areas for Starfleet, they why not hit Jupiter Station, or the Lunar Colonies the Verteron array and allow a comet to hit one of the domed cites on Mars, or the construction of Columbia? Although its understandable why the producers would not let that happen to Columbia (due to real world events at the time), in the show its poor strategy by the Xindi. Even hitting Vega colony & Alpha Centauri would make a bit more sense, since they are not the home planet, where presumably a defense force would be strongest.

    I saw nothing destroyed that suggested that Starfleet would be set back a few years. But they never explained that in the show.
     
  11. Oddish

    Oddish Fleet Captain Captain

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    It's definitely an inconsistency. There's an old saying: "never do your enemy a minor injury". Either make nice with him (preferable), or make sure he can't come after you, or at least prepare himself for a serious fight.
     
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  12. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    To disrupt the timeline ASAP. They did it at the behest of the Sphere Builders who were trying to change the outcome of the battle in "Azati Prime" 500 years into the future.
     
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  13. Steven P Bastien

    Steven P Bastien Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Good point. Their stupid choice could be the trigger and root cause for why the Earth destroys their species later. Or it is one path to the unchangeable future in which the Earth destroys their species no matter how they try to change it. Kind of like the "Time Machine" remake where the time-traveler's fiancee always dies.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I know. So the references to their old home having been in Panama City must somehow be separated from the idea that the Xindi Probe would have hit Panama City when it hit the sister.

    And there is a natural separation. Dialogue ("Fusion"; "Augments") also establishes that the Tuckers used to live in Panama City, but that dialogue never says the place was hit by the Xindi. It's just the old family home.

    We never actually hear it of hitting either of the Panama Cities, not directly. We also don't specifically hear it of having hit population centers or avoided those; the path of destruction is not rationalized. So we can believe the Xindi just wanted to sterilize all Earth and started with a random line; or decide that they hit intended important targets, and Trip's sister either was one of them or then wasn't.

    Because what was in Cuba was more important and more sensitive? Since we don't know what was there, we don't need to worry about this at all. Quite possibly losing Havana meant losing the ability to retaliate, whereas losing the Mars gun or Jupiter Station would only have resulted in insignificant loss of ability to defend Earth (a hopeless endeavor in any case because the Xindi could teleport right to their target, past all defenses).

    And of course Starfleet wouldn't advertise it to the public that they had just been neutered - nor would it want to revel in its own losses since this would make it look bad in the eyes of those civilians who had lost relatives.

    Something hugely important may well have been lost with the first volley. And the Xindi may have correctly solved the Traveling Salesman Problem and devised a path of destruction that would take out the maximum number of key targets in a minimum of time - only their beam failed after scoring only a few of those victories. Not their fault at all.

    (One wonders if the Xindi had sufficient intel on Earth, though. Quite possibly they didn't even have a map of any sort, and had to fire at complete random at this strange planet far away from their home turf.)

    The bottom line here is, why should we think the first attack was a "test" at all? It's more natural to assume that all testing had already been concluded (if a bit hastily, with the Sphere Builders breathing at the Xindi necks), and this was It, the Real Deal. Only it failed, so plans B, C and D were put in motion. And not A 2.0, aka more of the same, which might in fact have led to Xindi victory.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Captain Captain

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    What would be sensitive enough it couldn’t have been brought up around Archer though? That’s where the argument falls apart. Was there really such a concern that he would be captured – either prior to of during the Xindi – and give away sensitive information?

    And what if the attack wasn’t a failure in the eyes of the Xindi? What if it performed the way they wanted - cause destruction & fear, and stir up a response? Which was one Earth ship, which they underestimated. They would not have been able to build a bioweapon if Enterprise didn’t enter the Delphic Expanse.

    The point is that the XIndi was rather arrogant sending a single probe, or a superweapon and a vessel, to Earth. Unlike the Borg who send a single cube or sphere purposefully, the Xindi just assumed dealing with Earth would be a walk in the park and didn’t need a fleet of sorts. Even using time travel they underestimated them.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It wouldn't apply to Archer. He'd already know, having been briefed on the minutest details for several months already.

    But the very first briefing establishes that these things are secrets: Archer only confesses to his crew that Earth has been attacked after spending an hour on the phone with Admiral Forrest - on three separate occasions, with an opportunity to go public between each occasion. The audience thus won't learn anything from Archer. And the public won't learn anything from Starfleet, nor the audience from the public, the members of which we never meet anyway. So unsaid things nevertheless existing is not a problem here specifically, if it's that in general at all.

    This is certainly a possibility. However, I don't think it reasonable to assume that they wanted the Enterprise to come. Those debates in the Council we do hear, and Earth's response is not welcome.

    Basically, they only underestimated Future Guy, which is sort of understandable if they didn't even know he existed. Archer alone, or the billions on Earth alone, could never have saved Earth, before or after the first probe attack.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. somebuddyx

    somebuddyx Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    To have a test run on Earth so that they could iron out the kinks for the full stage mission.
    Because someone in the Xindi council suggested it so that they could give Earth a chance to launch a counter assault.
     
  18. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Again, the aim wasn't to benefit the Xindi, it was to alter a battle 500 years into the future. The Xindi were just pawns doing whatever their Sphere Builder gods asked them to.
     
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  19. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Then too, maybe Daniels hi-jacked the thing to do a Pearl’
     
  20. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Xindi were likely confident that since humans weren't yet aware of them, there'd be no way they'd recognize the attack as having originated from them. They weren't expecting the shadowy figure from the future who had previously been Archer's antagonist to spill all the beans about who they are and where they're from to Archer. The Sphere Builders likely didn't see that coming either.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
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