In a series of posts, I've gone over some thing in the Star Wars series that just baffle me (Baby queens, stormtrooper accuracy) and it might have lead some people to believe that I hate the series or just don't adore it as much as I used to. Hmm, the latter might be a tenth of a bit true but Episode IV: A New Hope is still one of my ten favourite movies and I'll even go to bat for Lucas and say his direction of that film was flawless.
However, now I feel it's time to pay attention to another sci-fi franchise that molded me into the dork I am: Star Trek.
Yeah, considering it's been around longer, with more movies and TV series, there's a ton of material to go over. I'm not going to do the obvious ones like, "Why didn't they know Khan was actually on Ceti Alpha V in Wrath of Khan?" or "How were they able to beam through the shields in Relics when it's been established you can't beam through the shields?"
Instead, I'll be going over stuff that I've actually wondered about since I first saw the episode. So, set your phasers to cynical, get a cup of tea (Earl Gray, hot) or a bowl of gagh and enjoy my list of things that don't make sense in Star Trek.
This is gagh. It's pretty much worms. Klingon worms. Eaten alive for best results
1) If 'Plan A' Fails, There's Always 'Plan A'
The season two episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, 'Q Who' introduced us to the Federation's greatest enemy: The Borg. A relentless species of cyborgs who assimilate entire worlds into a collective consciousness. In the first encounter, the Borg cut out a large chunk of the Enterprise, which forces Picard to use lethal force. He blats a few holes in them and then finds they are regenerating.
The Enterprise quickly retreats and can see the Borg ship repairing itself. Picard tries to outrun them and Riker orders photon torpedoes ready to slow the Borg down as they are gaining. These are actual lines from the episode.
RIKER: Arm the photon torpedoes. Let's see if we can slow them down.
WORF: Torpedoes armed.
We see the torpedoes fire, hit the Borg and...
WORF: They had no effect.
Wow, so what does our brave crew do now? The Borg seem to have adapted to photon torpedoes, phasers can't be used at warp speeds and the Borg have started to fire a weapon which is draining the Enterprise's shields.
WORF: Shields have been reduced 41 percent. Another hit and we will be defenseless.
Crap, where do we go from here? Risk maneuvering at warp speed? Scan for a nebula to hide in or a planet and go into it's atmosphere? Let's see what Commander Riker has to suggest.
RIKER: Arm the photon torpedoes.
What? Uh, Riker, you tried them five minutes ago. Didn't you hear Worf, they had no effect on the ship. Worf, talk some sense into him, you're the tactical officer and everything.
WORF: Torpedoes armed.
Wh-? Didn't any of you listen to yourselves? THE TORPEDOES WON'T WORK!!! OK, let's just have Picard give a speech about how brute force won't work and how they'll have to outthink this new enemy to-
PICARD: Fire the photons!
Oh what the hell is this!? You know what, I'm just going to go ahead and guess the Borg ship was not damaged. Know what helps that theory? The very next line.
WORF: The Borg ship was not damaged.
The Borg fire again, manage to drain the shields (gasp!) and get the Enterprise to drop out of warp. They establish a tractor beam and-
RIKER: Lock on photon torpedoes.
WORF: Yes sir!
WHAT!?!?!? Y-you...you know that they didn't work at warp speed...so what the fuck do you think is going to happen when you're going slower? I mean...come on Riker, you're supposed to be better than this. Won't someone stop this insanity.
Thankfully, Data informs Riker about the dangers of his tactics.
DATA: Without our shields, at this range, there is a high degree of probability that a photon detonation will destroy the Enterprise.
Whoa...stakes just got raised big time. There's no way that Picard or Riker would ever go through with such a move.
RIKER: Prepare to fire.
Will Riker may be someone who wants to sit in the captains chair, but damn, he sure is not ready to lead into combat. All the lines are directly from the episode and thankfully, Starfleet battle tactics improved.
I won't explain how they got out of the situation (obviously since there were five more seasons after this) but give it a watch because while most of the first two seasons leave a lot to be desired, 'Q Who' is one of the better ones and establishes the Borg as one of the great Star Trek villains.
"Our plan was to keep shooting until we blew ourselves up?"
2) It's Not Like We Can Move The Station...Except When We Previously Did
It took me a while to warm up to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. While on TNG I was used to boldly going where no one had gone before, over on DS9 it seemed that they were stuck in one corner of the galaxy where weird shit kept happening to this crew on a space station.
Oh and there was also this...
Behold the wormhole, a tunnel connecting two separate points in space and time. Where a trip to the Gamma Quadrant would normally take a couple decades, via the wormhole it takes seconds. However on the other side we meet our main enemy for the series, the Dominion and their ground troops, the Jem'Hadar.
In the opening to season three, 'The Search, Part I' the crew is going over a simulation of an attack by the Jem'Hadar and find that they are no match for a heavily armed mobile force. The royal smart person of the group, Lt. Jadzia Dax finally comes up with her own ideas that don't include fighting. Again, these lines are from the episode itself.
DAX: That leaves us with two options: Abandon the third option and make a stand on Bajor or...collapse the entrance to the wormhole.
Huh? Jadzia, are you sure you don't have a third option? Back in the first episode, 'Emissary', the station was actually in orbit of Bajor, barely at full power, and was moved to the mouth of the wormhole so the Bajorans could claim it. At first, a trip of a hundred and sixty million kilometers on only six working thrusters would take about...two months. But then, royal smart person, Dax comes up with the answer to help Chief O'Brien.
DAX: Couldn't you modify the subspace field output of the deflector generators... just enough to create a low-level field around the station...
O'BRIEN:So we could lower the inertial mass...
DAX: If you can make the station lighter, those six thrusters would be all the power we need.
So...almost two years later, with a fully powered station, more than two thrusters...why couldn't you move the station again? Also, what is it with both franchises having space stations that can move? The Death Star is footloose and fancy free, going to Alderann and then Yavin in Star Wars and DS9's station doesn't even stay still for the first episode.
3) What Three Dimensional Terms?
Near the end of the movie Star Trek: First Contact, Captain Picard confronts the Borg Queen (Yeah, they have a queen) who apparently was with him when he was assimilated by the Borg in the season three season finale, The Best of Both Worlds. The Borg ship was nearly unstoppable, even after destoying a massive fleet at the star system Wolf 359 but at the last minute, the Enterprise was able to defeat it.
But that ship...and all the Borg on it were destroyed.
You think in such three dimensional terms.
Yeah, looks don't matter too much to Borg royalty
O....K...I don't really get what you mean by that. I suppose it's just your fancy way of saying that you never really stay dead. And if that's what it is...I'm willing to accept that.
Except on Star Trek: Voyager, they always seemed to be running into Borg who were somehow assimilated at Wolf 359 and yet somehow made it off the ship. In the episode Unity, the human Riley Frazier reveals that she was at Wolf 359 and assimilated.
But my main thing is...who picked these Borg up from the ship and brought them thousands of light-years away? I mean, the Borg were on their way to assimilate all of Earth, I would think that the Borg would be all, "Hey, the more the merrier!"
Voyager writers would always keep bringing that up, that somehow they encounter an ex-Borg from Wolf 359 that just somehow made it off the ship or just wasn't around when it blew up. How come no one ever asked, "Wait, that ship was destroyed how did you survive? And if you say anything about three dimensional terms, I'm shoving a phaser rifle up your ass and pulling the trigger."
4) The Prophets Are Dicks
On DS9, the station was originally in orbit of the planet Bajor, who had just won their freedom from the Cardassians. A highly religious people, the Bajorans believed their gods, The Prophets, lived in the wormhole I mentioned earlier.
Well...that's sorta true. In the pilot, Sisko encounters aliens who do not experience linear time and after the episode, the Bajorans declare Sisko their Emissary to the Prophets. Sisko didn't take it too seriously until they started to mind fuck him little by little. Enter the season six episode, Far Beyond the Stars. When Sisko is distraught about a friend being killed in battle and wondering if he can make a difference in the war they're in, the Prophets decide to mind fuck him in the worst way.
I hate this episode of DS9.
There are a few worse episodes, but this one really makes my shit itch. Sisko is transported to Earth in the 1950's where he is a sci-fi writer named Benny Russel. He has no memory of being Sisko, all he has are little lapses where he goes between times and believes to be losing his mind. He decides to write the story of DS9 for the magazine but they won't publish it because the Captain of the story is black.
Benny persists, but in the end of the episode, the story is rejected, he's fired from the magazine and goes insane and is put in a mental hospital.
A lot of people love this episode and gush over it because they love the racism is bad message and I agree: Racism is awful. But here's the thing...I already knew that. This aired in 1998, this wasn't really a message that we hadn't heard thousands of times before.
And what really bugged me was that...why would the Prophets do this to Sisko? I mean, what good does it do to make a distraught man believe he's a mid-20th century writer battling racism, prejudice and his own insanity?
Seriously, it is never explained what the motive is for this or what good it does Sisko. Hell, if you don't listen carefully, you won't even know that the Prophets are behind it all. Needless to say, the Prophets are dickheads and this episode is crap. The only thing I like about it is the atmosphere of the 1950's. That's all I like...other than that...it's one of my least favourite Star Trek episodes ever.