Why Wasn't Rand Court Martialed?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Shon T'Hara, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. Shon T'Hara

    Shon T'Hara Commander Red Shirt

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    I was watching TMP the other day, and something occurred to me: why wasn't Rand court martialed for her role in the transporter accident? I mean, this wasn't some random, unforseen malfunction -- the system was offline for repairs. Scotty and Decker were in the engine room working on the problem. Shouldn't the transporter operator know about this? What was going on?

    *door opens*

    RAND: Hey, Bob.

    BOB: Hi, Janice. Ready to take over?

    RAND: Yeah.

    BOB: Great. I've had to take a piss for the last hour.

    RAND: Thanks for sharing!

    BOB: Well, enjoy your shift. See you tomorrow.

    *Bob leaves the room*

    STARFLEET (over intercom): Enterprise, this is Starfleet Command. Commander Sonak and Lt. Yngok are ready to transport.

    RAND: Roger, Starfleet. Energizing now.

    *door opens*

    BOB: Hey, Janice, I forgot to tell yo--

    *screaming starts*

    BOB: Uh, nevermind.

    After the accident, Kirk tells her there was nothing she could've done. Nothing? Really? She couldn't've checked the system status before beaming someone? You'd think that would be standard procedure.
     
  2. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I got the impression Starfleet started the transport without bothering to check with Enterprise. Rand's yelling "Do you read me? Pull them back!" over the comm when Kirk arrives.
     
  3. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You might "think" a lot of things, but you're projecting into a vacuum of information. The characters in the story must be presumed to fully understand what's going on, and if Kirk doesn't hold the operator at fault it's reasonable to assume that the circumstances don't warrant it.
     
  4. Shon T'Hara

    Shon T'Hara Commander Red Shirt

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    Have we ever seen anything like that in Star Trek? The impression I've always had is that transporter-to-transporter requires coordination by operators on both ends, otherwise Starfleet would've just been beaming Sonak and Unnamed Crewmember onto the Enterprise with no help from the ship's systems. It doesn't even make sense that one side could initiate transporter-to-transporter without authorization from the other end -- you'd think there'd be a failsafe built in just for such a situation.
     
  5. Shatnertage

    Shatnertage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I still don't get the point of that scene at all.

    Is it supposed to underscore the danger in transporting? Then shouldn't we feel bad about laughing at McCoy all those years for being a Luddite?

    Is it supposed to show us that Starfleet's incompetent?

    I'm not mocking the movie here--I legitimately don't understand what purpose that scene serves for the rest of the film. If they just wanted to clear out Sonak to make room for Spock, why not have him come down with a case of the Rigellian flu or something like that?
     
  6. Izzy Moonbow

    Izzy Moonbow Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Good question. Every time I watch it, I wonder "since when did they require two operators to beam someone up or down? We saw the crew beamed up dozens of times in terrible environments out beyond the middle of nowhere, without incident.
     
  7. Robert D. Robot

    Robert D. Robot Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^ I agree. I never understood why the Enterprise's transporter system needed to be involved with the beam-over. Although some in-universe explanation might be offered, I think it would be essentially making an excuse for some of the folks making the movie simply wanting to add a dose of horror to the story.
     
  8. Solariabsg25

    Solariabsg25 Commodore Commodore

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    My impression was that Enterprise was doing the beaming, and when the transporter malfunctioned Rand was trying to get Starfleet to try to recall the transport.

    Besides I'm sure that even if Kirk knew that due to an unforseen malfunction Rand would not be found responsible there would still be an inquiry at Starfleet.
     
  9. Shatnertage

    Shatnertage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's worth saying that if a bunch of people who care enough about Star Trek to still be talking about the movie 30 years after it came out still can't figure out what was going on, maybe it wasn't the best concept to begin with.
     
  10. Vance

    Vance Vice Admiral In Memoriam

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    Eh.. my take on it was pretty clear. There was a problem in the sensor that overloaded, Decker and Scotty were going over it when the transporter was activated and overloaded. If there really is a question of to why the transporter was allowed, what the hell was engineering doing removing a transporter sensor while fitting the ship and without telling the transporter room until AFTER they started beaming?
     
  11. Avon

    Avon Commodore Commodore

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    starfleet were clearly feeling sorry for her due to her saggy face.
     
  12. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    Didn't Kirk say to her that it was not her fault?
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    A fail-safe ready light probably failed.

    It always unnerved me that Kirk pulls Decker away from working with Scotty on a faulty transporter component - then demotes him, and then orders him to the bridge, not back to Scotty. Minutes later the transporter is engaged by Starfleet HQ. So Kirk knows it's not Rand's fault, because it's probably his.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  14. Merky

    Merky Captain Captain

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    Kirk was on his period throughout that entire movie. You can't blame him for acting so irrationally.
     
  15. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe Rand wasn't yet on duty when the transport began.
     
  16. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

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    It's not her that caused it. Cleary and Scotty had removed the transporter module, and I presume they thought they would replace it before the transporter would be used. In fact, Cleary may have put in the replacement module, giving the transporter room a green signal, and the replacement could've been equally bad. As Decker said, "Faulty module." You don't courtmartial folks for things like that.
     
  17. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    The point is that they wanted to set out without a certified Science officer, in order to have a need for Spock to fill when he showed up. Also, they wanted Ilia to show up at the last minute too in order to surprise Decker so we can see their relationship (important to the whole movie) instead of just chat about in some exposition. Having her a last minute fill in for the navigator also killed alongside Sonak was a good way to kill two birds with one stone. It's simply storytelling expediency.

    Losing the non-Ilia navigator was important to the story. Losing Sonak was too, and since you need to excise two crewmembers, it's better drama to kill them dramatically then to just say, "oh BTW, those two guys aren't gonna be able to make it. Sorry."

    One might also argue that it helps set the theme of the movie, about mortality and transition. The film is also very much about the meaning of existence and having two meaningless deaths at the start of the story serves to set a tone which is explored with the V'Ger probe's need to establish contact with a higher power and further elaborated in Spock's monologue after his mind-probe of the sensor apparatus inside V'Ger. These meaningless deaths are then contrasted in the end when Decker and V'Ger merge, allowing V'Ger to grow beyond it's purely logical machine intellect.

    I think the transporter accident is pretty important to the movie. As to why Rand wasn't court-martialed, yeah, another faulty module...

    --Alex
     
  18. Shon T'Hara

    Shon T'Hara Commander Red Shirt

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    That theory doesn't work. The transporter had been offline for a while -- that's the whole reason Kirk had to take the shuttle pod to the Enterprise. Clearly this was an ongoing problem and the Enterprise was directing Starfleet to beam personnel to the station -- until Sonak came along.

    You'd think the transporter room would run a test before putting the system back into service.
     
  19. Bad Atom

    Bad Atom Commodore Commodore

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    Listen to Rand's half-hearted plea to Starfleet to abort transport. She
    is obviously faking it. She DELIBERATELY screwed up the transporter
    circuit in Engineering (she had 18 months to figure out how to do it) to
    ensure that it would malfunction. Why would she do this, you ask?

    In the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (I know it's not canonical
    but it will serve my purposes), the other person transporting aboard was
    Kirk's WIFE! Janice Rand has always been trying to get Kirk's attention
    (it's very hard in those bland coverall uniforms) so she decided to get
    rid of the competition. Why, then, didn't Rand go after Kirk when the
    dirty deed was done? Guilt. Too little, too late, Janice!

    And poor Sonak! An innocent pawn in the dangerous chess game of love.
     
  20. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    As I said, maybe Rand wasn't even in the transporter room when this went down. She could have been called there at the last minute (just like Kirk and Scotty) after the transport started to go south.

    Hell, the transporter room could have been EMPTY when this whole thing started. If, as has been suggested, the transport process was started from Earth's end.