Worst command decisions by Captain James T. Kirk

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Gary7, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. Steven P Bastien

    Steven P Bastien Captain Captain

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    Agreed. Still, even if the DNA was on record and then Kirk could locate where it was on record and then have it transmitted to the Enterprise, we already know what would have happened.

    Spock, "I think we have a match"
    Kirk, "But not an exact match"

    Basically, the story was going to make up any excuse why Kodos could not be identified with 100 percent certainty. So the easiest thing to assume is that the DNA evidence was not available and there were no other means to identify him, other than the voice recognition, which was not able to work perfectly because of the long time period and "the actor's" ability to change his voice somewhat. Yes, Kirk lied when he said, "disguising your voice will make no difference" because it seems to have made at least a small difference which was enough for him to reject the evidence.

    Forgetting that 1965 was not a time when writers would be thinking about DNA evidence and viewers would not either, we can still make good excuses for why not all DNA is available. We could imagine that there is a privacy issue and long ago laws were enacted to protect DNA and people were reluctant to submit samples. Or, given the size of the inhabited part of the galaxy, maybe remote outposts do not go through the trouble to record DNA systematically. Perhaps it is done regularly on Earth in major cities, but remote areas of Earth (if they even exist) and backwater planets? maybe no. Maybe the records are there, but for some reason are not organized and centralized making it hard for a Starship to get the information quickly. Maybe within a few weeks of Kodos dying they do in fact track down a sample or a record and positively identify him and the history books can now be corrected.

    We can imagine that in another 55 years from now, new identification methods will be known that we are not even thinking about now. People then will also debate about that technology in relation to this episode because TOS will still be watched and talked about, which I think is amazing.
     
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  2. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    I think you're right - and it *is* amazing.

    Did you mention the destruction of the colony as a reason/solution for the nonuse-of-DNA issue? I really like your privacy-based explanation, but I always figured that the records of Kodos' DNA were lost with Tarsus IV, which may still not explain why they were not backed up somewhere on a UFP server that Kirk, as a high-ranking Starfleet officer, could have accessed.
     
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  3. MAGolding

    MAGolding Captain Captain

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    I think that the problem was not so much finding out whether Karidian was Kodos, though he was trying to make it difficult, but proving that Governor Kodos was the Executioner, that he had ordered and carried out the massacre.

    It is possible that the 4,000 colonists who weren't killed weren't informed of the massacre until after Kodos was overthrown, and so could not testify who was responsible.

    It is possible that all of Kodos's accomplices were killed in the fighting. Otherwise they would have been tried and they would have tried to blame everything on Kodos and his orders, and thus there would have been a lot of legally recorded testimony from the trials saying that Kodos ordered the massacre.

    It is certain that the 4,000 dead colonists were unable to testify, and uncertain how much forensic evidence was left to be examined.

    And a badly burned unidentifiable body was found and believed to be that of Kodos, so he was presumed dead.

    It is said that there were only 9 witness who saw Kodos and could identify him. Since there were voice recordings and photos of Kodos, there must have been many survivors who could identify Governor Kodos. So the problem should have been to identify Kodos with the leader of the exterminations, the man who spoke the speech to his victims before killing them.

    So the 9 surviving witnesses could have been part of the last batch of victims, with Kodos being interrupted by the arrival of Starfleet rescuers right after he read the speech to them. And maybe most of those survivors/witnesses were killed in the cross fire between Kodos's men and Starfleet, leaving only nine potential witnesses.

    And because Kodos was believed dead, and all his men were killed, there were no trials. So the witnesses gave statements to the authorities that satisfied the news media and historians that Kodos was responsible, but weren't legally valid testimony because those statements weren't made during a trial.

    So if all the witnesses died before Kodos was identified and tried, there would be no way to get legally valid testimony to convict Kodos. Or so his daughter may have thought and hoped, even though her sanity seemed rather questionable.
     
  4. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    the nine witnesses.

    probably eye witnesses, actual present when kodo said something incriminating, or did something.

    otherwise it would be hear-say, inuendo, fake news, deep fake.
     
  5. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    I didn't think Kodos was meant to be seen as a monster. As he protested if the supply ships hadn't arrived sooner than expected Kodos wouldn't have looked so bad.
    While I don't really understand why there were only 9 witnesses. I think perhaps Kodos had been newly appointed from another colony and maybe the first colonists to be sacrificed might have been his closest colleagues (maybe those who opposed his plans).
    Then maybe the people who carried out his plan were sacrificed at the end when the colony ships arrived.
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Wholly sidestepping writer intent, which never amounted to much and never was intended or required to, we should look at what was actually said, and decide how to best mutilate that to provide a logical conclusion.

    The "eyewitness" issue is by far the easiest shot to take there. Let's review pertinent statements:
    So the nine are survivors, and stand out by virtue of being able to identify Kodos.

    Does this mean there are other eyewitnesses who are unable to identify Kodos? Any survivors would naturally come in two sorts: those who survived by being elsewhere when bad things happened, and those who survived despite being right there. The latter sort could be eyewitnesses to the massacre, and relevant to court proceedings; the former would be irrelevant bystanders.

    So, does being eyewitness (in general, or in being one of the nine) mean being able to tell what Kodos looked like? But that's nonsense - there are pictures of what Kodos looked like, and the human eye can do no better than pictures (and will generally do much, much worse). The nine need to be a more knowledgeable bunch, with access to more than the fallible input of their eyes. And it's simple for them to be that: they could be the nine who know who Kodos was.

    There was a "coup" on the colony. So "Governor Kodos" could be a coupster whose nom de guerre tells the authorities nothing and whose real, original identity is uncertain. But nine people who traveled to the colony on the same ship with the mystery man who then became Kodos would be valuable sources of information indeed, when the time came to "identify Kodos". There would be records on the passengers of the putative ship, but then there would be these actual eyewitnesses...

    (In this model, the "no positive identification" bit would be the computer saying that nobody could positively, that is, absolutely, ever identify who this Kodos guy was, which is a premise acceptable to today's audiences, and not that the authorities couldn't positively say the corpse was Kodos, which is an unacceptable premise.)

    Now, the other alternative is that of the eyewitnesses establishing Kodos' specific guilt on giving the illegal and murderous orders. But this is not what gets established in the dialogue. Nowhere in the episode is eyewitnessing associated with the ability to prove that the massacres happened (there's no shortage of proof that they did take place, AFAWK), or with the ability to prove that Kodos did it (he freely admits to this in a public speech!). Furthermore, the computer is aware of the eyewitnesses being eyewitnesses - so eliminating them now, decades later, would serve little purpose as regards the above two points, on which they either must have been questioned, or then flagged as valid providers of incrimination on demand, therefore as good as having already provided that incrimination!

    OTOH, if the nine and the mystery man were shipmates, then it would be plausible for the nine not to volunteer information initially, lest they incriminate a friend or a family member - perhaps Kodos was somebody trusted or recommended by Kirk's dad, say? True or not, Lenore might suspect the nine of holding back key knowledge that would connect the pasts of the two fictional identities Kodos and Karidian and lead the authorities to the true identity of the man behind both.

    That the testimonies of the nine would be necessary to get Kodos convicted doesn't sound plausible, as Kirk doesn't think this would be an option: instead, he makes a personal threat on Karidian's life, something rather unthinkable if an official alternative existed, and then fails to pursue that, again unthinkable if there were official obligations. If the fate of Kodos hangs on Kirk's testimony, these facts make no sense be Kirk vindictive (he'd then give the testimony and let Kodos hang) or merciful/afraid/protective (he'd then not make death threats). And it certainly makes no sense for Kirk not to dictate an official witness statement ASAP, totally preempting the murderer's efforts!

    If, OTOH, the testimony is irrelevant as regards the sentence of Kodos, and only matters in whether Karidian can be established to be Kodos, then Kirk is correct not to jump to conclusions; Lenore is correct to be protective of her father's new identity and secret past; and the death threat is understandable if we make the additional assumption that the sentence already passed on Kodos (or awaiting him if it is discovered he's alive and pretending to be Karidian) is one of letting him walk. The conclusion of the episode establishes that murderous madmen (madwomen) do walk, to the mental asylum and back, and Kirk might not be comfortable with that newfangled thing yet, although he'll learn better by the time of "Dagger of the Mind".

    But never mind these thousand-word treatises. Ultimately, this episode isn't particularly problematic as long as no writer makes a misguided effort to "explain" or "excuse" it. The whole Kodos thing is a McGuffin and openly treated as such - it doesn't seem to matter to our heroes, who don't make even a halfhearted attempt at "unraveling the mystery of the identity" or "making the villain face justice", even when at least Kirk obviously feels strongly about it all. As per the rules of the episode, the crimes of Kodos either cannot be nailed on Karidian no matter what, or won't carry a consequence worth all the hassle - and it takes a deranged mind to think otherwise. In the end, even Karidian himself appears to concur, condemning his daughter's efforts as utterly counterproductive...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  7. Mrs. Silvercrest

    Mrs. Silvercrest Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I was going to say never checking to see how Khan and his followers were on the planet they left them on. Maybe if he had and they were recused the Wrath of Khan would not have happened? Though, that is an amazing movie so would want it to happen...
     
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  8. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I never saw the greatness of Wrath to be honest! Khan and Kirk never meet, Shatner wears the first of his curly black syrups which look...silly and the space battle is far too colourful and long!
    JB
     
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  9. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    ...
     
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  10. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yep, that's the funny bit in the film!
    JB
     
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  11. Tarek71

    Tarek71 Captain Captain

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    They would have scanned the system on approach and seen that a planet had exploded, and that this was not the same planet. The idea that they get confused about what planet they are on (CetiAlpha 5/6) is absolutely ridiculous.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  12. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's a good thing Trek was never ridiculous in any other episode or film...
     
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  13. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    That was on Starfleet. The Enterprise may have never been in that sector again during Kirk's command. We see in the episode that Kirk recorded log entries on finding Khan and his attempt to take over the ship. Plus, after the incident, Kirk is missing a crewmen (Marla McGivers) that he would have to account for.

    I would also imagine any tribunal would be recorded.
     
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  14. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    Shatner hamming it up. :lol:
     
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  15. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd pay real money to see Karidian bluster about "fake news!".
     
  16. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah he would.
     
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  17. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    Welcome to Star Trek? :shrug:
     
  18. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    M take is Captain Terrell was bored with his assignment, and didn't access the records, and didn't scan the system outside the "goldilocks zone," and had no idea what was going on around him.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  19. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If they'd been aiming for CA5 and ended up on CA6 after 5 exploded we could just about claim that Terrall was lazy or incompetent and simply told his helmsman to head for the fifth planet... which would be unlikely, but just about possible.
    But ending up on 5 when aiming for 6 is what we get on-screen.
     
  20. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Maybe less a case of head towards a known Ceti Alpha Six, and more head toward any planet that just happens to be in the star's inhabitable zone, and wasn't known to have life.

    CA5 was a known life bearing planet and so Terrell dismissed it, without examining the planet's records beyond that fact.

    CA6 wasn't a known life bearing planet, it was in the inhabitable zone, so Terrell head toward (supposedly) CA6. If it wasn't in the exact orbit that was previously surveyed ... so what.

    Why bother looking at the rest of the system?

    Terrell didn't care, he just wanted the assignment over with. That much was extremely clear from the movie.

    I've never bought in to the idea that Kirk-Starfleet-Federation kept secret the fact that Kirk set up a impromptu prison colony on CA5.