Zefram Cochrane of Alpha Centuri

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by T'Girl, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk: Mister Cochrane, do you have a first name?
    Cochrane: Zefram.
    Kirk: Zefram Cochrane of Alpha Centuri, the discoverer of the space warp?


    In the episode Metamorphosis, Cochrane is referred to as "Zefram Cochrane of Alpha Centuri." I believe the writer's intent was that Alpha Centuri was the star system closest to our own.

    But is it possible that Alpha Centuri instead referred to the name a company or organization? Alpha Centuri could be a company like Microsoft, or Boeing, or General Electric. It would have been like Kirk saying "Kelly Johnson of Lockheed." This would suggest that Cochrane was employed by Alpha Centuri

    Or Alpha Centuri could refer to Cochrane's own small organization, the chosen name of his little band of builders and engineers.

    Would Alpha Centuri have to be the star system?

    .
     
  2. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Cartoon Premium Member

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    That's an interesting take.
     
  3. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    I agree, it's an interesting idea.

    Interestingly though, the real-world name of that star system is Alpha Centauri. But when I look at e.g. http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/31.htm for the script, I see it is written 'alpha centuri' indeed.

    Is that an error, or would that have been deliberate on the writer's part?
     
  4. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Cartoon Premium Member

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    Those are transcripts taken from the episodes' audio rather than actual scripts. The error could with the transcriber rather than the writers.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    "Alpha Centuri" is a pretty common misreading of "Alpha Centauri," from people who don't realize it's the possessive of "Centaurus" (as in centaur) and draw a false analogy with "century." I'm sure that's all it is.

    There are multiple references in the script to Cochrane being human, so presumably the intent was that he was born on Earth and used his invention of warp drive to colonize Alpha Centauri later in life.
     
  6. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, I figured as much that could be the case, so I intended 'error' to cover both errors in the script, and errors on the site or any intermediate party.

    EDIT: just watched part of the episode. Kirk really seems to say 'Centuri' (as in: if I didn't know the star system's name and I would have to transcribe this episode from audio, I would have spelled it like that).
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  7. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    <pushed quote button instead of edit button, please delete this post>
     
  8. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I thought that he relocated there to start one of the first human extrasolar colonies.
     
  9. The Laughing Vulcan

    The Laughing Vulcan Admiral Admiral

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    I liked the original Trek Lit take on it...
     
  10. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Cartoon Premium Member

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    Is that the version where the Alpha Centaurians (including Cochrane) are the descendants of humans transplanted from Earth by the Preservers?
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes and no. There was no consistent position on it in the novels; for instance, the Reeves-Stevenses' early novels went with the idea of Cochrane as a humanoid native Centaurian (although I don't think they brought the Preservers into it), but Crisis on Centaurus went with the idea of Cochrane as a Terran who founded a colony on Alpha Centauri. In fact, since Crisis came out two and a half years before Memory Prime, the native-Centaurian idea cannot be considered the original Trek Lit take.

    And really, the native-Centaurian idea makes no sense. It's based on one single line from "Metamorphosis" and ignores the multiple other lines in the same episode that unambiguously call Cochrane a human, and implicitly an Earthman (Spock points out how similar the asteroid's conditions are to Earth, and Cochrane says it's "not Earth, but it's livable").
     
  12. The Laughing Vulcan

    The Laughing Vulcan Admiral Admiral

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    The majority of early Trek Lit had plenty of references to intelligent life on Alpha Centauri discovered by Earth. I'm guessing it was a FASA thing. Memory Prime was one, as was Strangers From the Sky. Prime Directive offered some anatomical differences, a hexagonal blush pattern, extra joint in the Pinky, while Shane Johnson's World's of the Federation actually had the history of first contact with Alpha Centauri, where the commander of the UNSS Icarus met the physicist Zefrem (sic) Cochrane. Crisis on Centaurus went against the grain at the time.

    Edit: The Starfleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph also lists the Alpha Centauri Concordium of Planets as a founder member of the Federation. Post TOS, with its indeterminate time frame, it's conceivable that humans discovered Alpha Centauri, colonised it, built up a technologically advanced civilisation with space travel of its own, declared independence and grew in stature and population to rival Earth to the point that they could be founder members... but in the hundred year time frame of modern Trek between first contact and Federation, that seems unlikely.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Surely the simplest assumption would be that Zephram Cochrane was a human who was living on Alpha Centauri when he invented the space warp. Would the writer be working on that assumption or not?

    There was no reference in the episode to the current date, that is, whether Kirk lived two centuries in the future or twenty. On the other hand, even a careful look back by the writer to previous episodes would reveal not just ambiguity on dating, but also lots of references to "early" human progress in spaceflight. If there were Earth spacecraft flying to the stars in 1996 and 2002 at the very least, why would all of mankind still be confined to Earth when Zephram Cochrane made his invention? Surely the writer would consider it his right to give the inventor a birthplace more interesting than an Earth region or location here.

    We of course now know that Cochrane was not on Alpha Centauri when making the invention, so the theory where he wasn't of Alpha Centauri yet, either (but became famous for going there), is among the most attractive. But we don't know whether other humans were on Alpha Centauri at that time; certainly the level of technology would have allowed for that, even if we exclude explicit references to interstellar colonization runs around that time from TAS "The Terratin Incident".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's what I say. Lawrence of Arabia wasn't born in Arabia. Scott of the Antarctic wasn't born in the Antarctic. It's along those lines.
     
  15. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    You beat me to it.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And Helen of Troy wasn't born in Troy.
     
  17. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And Elaan of Troyius wasn't born on Troyius. :bolian:

    Regarding Helen, her face launched a thousand ships (supposedly; Trelane might be a damn liar :devil: ), and Zephram's warp doohickey launched a thousand more.
     
  18. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This. Going from the evidence in Metamorphosis, it seems obvious to me that Zephram Cochrane was an Earthman who invented warp drive and used it to journey to Alpha Centauri. Thus, "Zephram Cochrane of Alpha Centauri."
     
  19. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. He's "Cochrane of Alpha Centauri" in the same sense that T.E. Lawrence was "Lawrence of Arabia" even though he was born in England.
     
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    From the 1st Draft script by Gene L. Coon, April 19, 1967.