Headscratchers / Star Trek: Generations

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    Why Didn't They Wait Until Tuesday? 
  • So why didn't they delay the Enterprise-B launch until Tuesday, when it would actually be ready?
    • Tradition? Every ship named Enterprise up to that point had left dry dock at least once before it was ready (ENT: Broken Bow, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier). In all seriousness, though, what kind of negligent, criminally irresponsible organization decided it would be a good idea to launch Enterprise without at least one medic on board? Say what you will about Admiral Cartwright, but at least he kept shit running.
      • This is actually pretty common in real life, with ships being launched at times as little more than an empty shell. Their main systems are then installed during the fitting out phase, and then there would be a period of shakedown cruises before it's commissioned and put into service. A better question would be why were there no other starships at all around Earth?
    • Maybe that was the only time Kirk and the other VIPs would be available for the christening. As they approached their deadline they realized they wouldn't have everything ready, but enough for a quick trip, and so they went ahead with the launch rather than give up on having Kirk aboard. Still rather negligent.
    • It's also pretty clearly a press run - Harriman specifies that they're going not much further than Pluto and then back to spacedock. This is NOT a proper shakedown, it's just something done for the sake of the press or something. The Enterprise-E is said to have spent a full YEAR in shakedown status (though that length could have just been because it was one of the first active duty vessels of her class, unlike the Excelsior-class Enterprise-B), while this was a jaunt around the solar system and back to dock. It could be that there was some event or another that got Starfleet thinking 'hey, we've got a new Enterprise near completion, wouldn't it be neat to do some kind of celebratory press circuit or some such?' The Enterprise was engaged in what Harriman called 'a quick run around the block,' which means they were remaining close to major Starfleet installations - it's canon that there are Federation facilities at least out to Saturn's moons, so, given that it's humanity's star system, reaching out to Neptune or even Pluto and other objects in the Kuiper Belt with facilities is not out of the question. Under normal circumstances, if there were any injuries, if they weren't instantly fatal, they could probably make a quick pull over to one of them without much difficulty. Given the short trip they were expecting, it wasn't likely they would encounter anything too terribly dangerous, that they weren't expecting to engage in anything that would result in injuries a standard medkit couldn't handle.
      • The Enterprise-E is said to have spent a full YEAR in shakedown status (though that length could have just been because it was one of the first active duty vessels of her class, unlike the Excelsior-class Enterprise-B) How do we know the Enterprise-B wasn't one of the first Excelsior-class ships? Indeed, the Enterprise-B is an Excelsior variant (with extra impulse engines, modified warp nacelles, secondary hull extensions, different deflector dish etc), one that we have never seen before (and only once since, that being the Lakota from DS9), so there must be something significantly different about her compared to the Excelsior and all the other standard configuration Excelsior-class ships we see.
      • We know she's not one of the first Excelsior-class ships precisely because she's a variant. Variants are put together in response to needs in the field. We also know the Excelsior was launched in 2285 and the Enterprise wasn't launched until 2293.

    Nexus Problems 
  • The Nexus introduces a plethora of logic problems:
    • Why didn't Picard go further back in time to when Soran first arrived, so he could stop the whole thing?
      • Presumably he didn't want to introduce new problems into the time stream by going too far back, so he picked a time only a few minutes before his entry into the Nexus.
      • And there actually is an explanation for Picard not trying to prevent the loss of Enterprise. He isn't actually aware it crashed until the entire ordeal was over. This is best shown in a deleted scene where Geordi and Worf go to pick him up in a shuttle and Picard asks where the hell they've all been and if there was trouble with the Klingon's. You can still see it in the film itself if you look closely. Picard looks at the probe as it launches with baited breath, and doesn't look defeated until it hits, as if he was waiting to see if Enterprise would shoot it down, and when Nexus and Shockwave approaches Picard looks around confused, as if he's wondering why Enterprise isn't beaming him back to warp out of the area. And he later asks Guinian why she isn't on the Enterprise safe and sound when she'd actually been blown up with it at that point. This still doesn't explain why he doesn't go back to when he met Soran and arrest him immediately though.
    • Where did the original Picard go when his future counterpart came out of the Nexus?
      • Maybe the Nexus also adjusts the time line when it inserts someone where they weren't before, so the original Picard was removed from the time stream (into the Nexus?) when his future self appeared in the same time and place.
      • Pretty much this. This, of course, could explain why there are Nexus echoes.

    Just Use a Ship - It Worked Before 
  • The first time Soran got to the Nexus he was on a ship. Why couldn't he do it again?
    • That ship also blew up. Approaching the ribbon in a ship is dangerous, and since there's no guarantee that Soran would get into the Nexus before his ship blew up he decided to use a planet instead.
    • Actually, he could still use a ship. He could charter one to take him to where the ribbon will be in an hour or so and beam himself out into space in an EV suit so that the ribbon can pick him up without endangering anyone.
    • Except himself, which is kind of the point for Soran. If a ship has a chance of blowing up before you can get into the Nexus, then using a suit is obviously even more dangerous. A planet is much safer, if you don't care about what happens to everyone else on it after you're gone into the Nexus.
    • The danger presented by the Nexus absolutely fails show don't tell. He gets in the first time whilst in a primitive El-Aurian refugee ship that survived long enough for the Enterprise to receive the distress call, long enough for it to get there, and long enough to figure out a way to beam some of them out; a period of time that must have been a good solid few minutes at least. The film wants us to believe a certain thing is true (that you can't fly your ship into it) whilst wanting us to believe that he did so the first time perfectly fine. And as we see with Kirk, the Nexus lightning that is taking chunks out of these ships is actually completely harmless. Yes it destroyed a good chunk of the Enterprise-B's secondary hull, but Kirk was transported into the Nexus without any injury whatsoever despite standing at ground zero. For all we know from this visual evidence, everyone blown up that day in a similar manner made it.
    • Soran's been studying the Nexus ever since he left it - close to 80 years. The fact that he's willing to sacrifice a populated planet to get back in would indicate that getting into the Nexus before your ship blows up is no sure thing, regardless of what's shown on screen. Kirk of course has Plot Armor, at least until the bridge falls on him.

    Enterprise vs. Obsolete Bird-of-Prey 
  • So we've got the Galaxy-class Starship Enterprise, the pride of Starfleet, one of the most powerful starships in known space against a much smaller, more lightly armed, obsolete Klingon Bird-of-Prey. The Enterprise has 10 phaser arrays which are arranged so that there are at least two facing you from any angle, can fire several simultaneously, and it can fire 5 torpedoes at once. Given this, does it seem possible, even likely, that the destruction of the Enterprise-D could have been avoided had they simply gone for constant return fire with phasers and torpedoes and simply overloaded the Bird-of-Prey's shields before they did too much damage? We only see a single phaser shot before they start looking for a way to trick the enemy cloaking device.
    • I always figure the Enterprise shot more often than we saw because halfway through the battle a Klingon crew member says "Our shields are still holding" which would be pretty meaningless if they hadn't been shot at. Still not a well-done scene to not at least show a few more shots though.
    • Because the bird of prey's first volleys were straight at the Enterprise's engineering section, the ship was heavily damaged before it could even return fire at all. Plus, a highly agile ship like that bird of prey vs a ponderous ship like the Enterprise, coupled with the fact that every shot it fires is IGNORING their shields, means the Enterprise was crippled fairly quickly, leading to a warp core breach. They'd probably have been ok overall if the core hadn't gone, but the Klingons did a LOT of damage.
      • But they can still target their engineering just fine from behind. It's not as if they disabled their weapons. Wouldn't it make more sense to just fire all they have, betting on their 20 years old shields not being strong enough to withstand it?
    • The Klingon ship wasn't obsolete - Worf mentions they were retired from service due to a design flaw in the cloaking device, which they then happily exploit. It also wasn't lightly armed - even small birds of prey are equipped with very big disruptors (for the ship's size) and photon torpedoes. It still needed the Enterprise's shield frequency to be a match for them. The tables are turned when their own shields drop and a single torpedo is able to cause enough damage to destroy it. The fight went exactly how you'd expect, if you knew enough about Trek ships.
    • I pointed out on TNG's wallbangers page that it's even worse when you consider the events that lead to the destruction of the first Constitution-class Enterprise. Still heavily damaged from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, operating with a crew of six under heavy, jury-rigged automation, and lacking the ability to actually raise her shields, she still managed to give as good as she got from a Klingon Bird-of-Prey.
    • Another problem with this fight is the Enterprise-D's armor. Even without her shields, the Mighty D has taken her share of beatings from different foes (up to and including the Borg) and still managed to weather off much of the damage like the Lightning Bruiser that she is. Here, she takes random potshots spread over her hull and ends up critically wounded.
      • The ship very rarely lost its shields even in the tv show. It's also unlikely the Enterprise has real armor that would make any difference. There are windows literally all over the ship, having combat armor would be a bit pointless. Also, the ship isn't a warship, at all. The only dedicated (combat-only) warship Starfleet were working on at the time was the Defiant-class.
      • At the beginning of the battle Enterprise takes two photon torpedo hits at very close range to the secondary (Engineering) hull, without shields. Even larger ships like the Galaxy-class can't ignore unshielded hits from matter-antimatter explosives. Look how much damage General Chang's Bird of Prey did to the Enterprise-A in Undiscovered Country, and that was with full shields. When ships take too much damage to the secondary hull, you get power problems and even warp core breaches - which is exactly what happens.
    • Speaking of which, how the heck do photon torpedoes "adjust frequency" and ignore shields at all? They're solid (albeit explosive) projectiles, did they suddenly develop the ability to phase through or something?
      • There's actually a canon answer to that. Photon torpedo casings employ deflector shields, themselves, as established in the TNG episode "Half a Life." In fact, in that episode, the torpedo's shields had to be strong enough to protect the torpedo as it delivered it's payload into the body of a star. Presumably, it was just a matter of tuning the torpedo's shield frequency to match that of Enterprise's deflectors.
    • Okay, sure, let's assume that disruptor shots have no issues being tuned to a specific frequency and even torpedoes can get through using their own self-contained shields. Why did the crew not just remodulate the shields, possibly even in random fashion, like they did to resist the Borg's attempts to adapt? Or alternatively, pull the same tactic as the crew of the USS Odyssey tried in DS9 by dropping the shields and redirecting all that power to the weapons systems, and then barrage the Duras sisters' supposedly overmatched bird-of-prey into space dust? (Admittedly, though, this sort of result isn't without precedent — two old, refurbished Ferengi-controlled birds-of-prey did once capture the Enterprise-D in a straight battle. And yes, Riker was also in command that time.)
    • What good would remodulating the shields do when they can still read the new frequency from Geordi's visor? As far as not throw everything they've got keep in mind, that if they can get the Enterprise's shield frequency they can also get the information to adjust their own shields to match the Enterprise's weapons.
    • Keep in mind Lursa and B'etor are well aware of how ridiculous it would be for them to go up against them in a fair fight. "That is a GALAXY CLASS warship!"

    Priceless Artifact? It's Junk Now 
  • Blink and you'll miss it, but at the very end, when Picard's going through the wreckage of his ready room, he finds the top half of the Kurlan naiskos that his archaeologist mentor Galen gave him in season 6's "The Chase." He then casually puts it down and leaves it behind. Now, "The Chase" established that the artifact was absolutely priceless (beyond which, it clearly had sentimental value: he was deeply touched by the gift even at the time, and then to top it off his cherished mentor was killed only a few days later). Why would he treat it so offhandedly, let alone abandon it altogether, especially after it survived the crash intact?
    • WMG: The artifact was so valuable that he had it stored safely somewhere else (on Earth? in a museum?) and simply had a replica made for his ready room (we saw it on display in a few episodes of the series following "The Chase").
    • Good explanation above. It's also possible he only cares at this point about the family heirloom he's looking for and isn't really worried about an artifact (though it being a replica does explain it very well).
    • The ship isn't going to be left there. More than likely every scrap they can find will be pulled off the planet (so as not to influence the Veridian IV civilization when they become spacefaring. Things will be returned to their owners.
    • Ever consider the real artifact is in a museum and Picard owns a replica as a memento? He's an archeologist and it's very unlikely he'd hoard a priceless artifact to himself.

    Double Standard of Humor? 
  • What's with the double standard with Data pushing Crusher in the water and it being seen as harsh and cruel? It's really no different than what happened with Worf that everyone was laughing at. In both cases, the person was unwillingly dropped into the water to their personal humiliation. Why was it so hilarious when it happened to Worf and so shameful when it happened to Beverly?
    • Actually, it was even more hilarious than what happened to Worf. No wonder Data is confused - he's hanging around with people with no sense of humor.
    • Because it wasn't part of the 'scene'. The whole ceremony was half-congratulations, half-hazing of Worf. Dropping him in the water is all part of that. Shoving Crusher into the water is just random and senseless, and something just being 'lol random' doesn't automatically make it funny.
    • Here's the thing, though: It's well known that Data doesn't always entirely understand the nuances of human behavior, and his friends generally make allowances for that. I've always thought this was a weak part of the film, because one failed but ultimately inconsequential attempt at humor does not give Data enough motivation to start tinkering with the dangerous emotion chip (much less in the middle of a mission).
    • I got the sense that Data had been working on understanding humor for a while — that he felt that he was getting the grasp of it and was ready to branch out and start trying to make jokes instead of just understanding their concept. Pushing Crusher was probably his first real attempt, in front of his friends and peers, to demonstrate he understood and could replicate humor. And it blew up in his face. It made him realize that without the chip, he might never get it, and he was, on some level, frustrated.
    • Data pushing Crusher into the water is one of those things that was hilarious to the audience (we can see exactly what is coming when Bev says the unexpected drop is funny, she is setting herself up to take that fall, because we've Seen It a Million Times), but in-universe not funny to the characters. Those are difficult scenes to script and direct and perhaps they failed to quite integrate the different reactions, characters and audience, properly. That leaves it all feeling a bit disjointed.
      • It's hilarious to us precisely because it's funny that Data doesn't get it, gets a "I've got it" expression, and then responds badly.
    • Perhaps the bigger issue is the film's weird conflation of "experiences emotions" with "understands humor."
    • Probably the issue is this; Worf was in the table and was possible for him to fall at any moment, he was ready for that, and the "eliminate the table" thing is funny from the perspective of anticipation (they were expecting him to fall and we he thought he made it, he still falls), with Crusher, what does the rest saw? Well, they saw Data pushing the doctor aggressively and we no reason. Yes, we as audience saw the pun (her advise) but they don't, would you laugh if someone just randomly pushes a women with no other context? and not only that, she felt into Worf who was already climbing back to the ship and make him fall too, again, thus causing random and unexplained harm to two people.
      • It's more that Worf was in a situation where hazing is encouraged, while Crusher was just a bystander.
      • Even if you take gender completely out of the equation, however, Data still seems to have committed a major faux pas for a couple of reasons: First, Dr. Crusher holds an ancient and hallowed position aboard Enterprise; and one does not pick on the ship's surgeon. Secondly, while Data is the ship's second officer, he's still a junior officer. Mr. Data was way out of line shoving Commander Crusher into the water.
      • I don't think rank was the reason; they were off duty at the time and the senior staff are all personal friends and used to interacting on social occasions. It's just that Data was incapable of navigating when such a gag was appropriate and when it wasn't (just why he would think the emotion chip would make him any better at this is a mystery to me).
      • Data is not a junior officer; he carries the rank of Lt. Commander which is high by Starfleet standards with generally only two ranks above it on a normal starship. He is currently third in command of the ship, has held the role of second in command under Captain Jellico, and has actually taken command of other starships as seen in Redemption. The reason why they so readily call him Mister Data is never explained, but everyone called Spock Mister and in that case he outranked everyone on the ship bar Kirk. Heck, they even called Saavik Mister in Star Trek 2 instead of Miss. or Mrs. so clearly the word has a meaning in the future that it currently does not have.
      • In a naval rank structure, a "junior officer" is any officer below the rank of commander. Tradition allows junior officers to be addressed by the honorific "Mister," while requiring senior officers be addressed by their full rank. Mr. Data holds a senior position on Enterprise's command staff, but he is a junior officer.
    • It's funny to us, the viewer. It is not funny to the people experiencing it (see The Simpsons episode where Lisa demonstrates this by throwing her shoe at Bart.)

     Kirk's Unlikely Nexus Fantasy 
"Captain of the Enterprise?"
"That's right."
"Close to retirement?"
"Not planning on it."
"Let me tell you something. Don't. Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you, don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there, you can make a difference."
  • This exchange is priceless because it proves that Kirk's ultimate fantasy isn't a rural house where he manually chops wood, makes breakfast in bed and rides a horse through the forest all day... Kirk's ultimate fantasy is to step foot on the bridge of the Enterprise as a young man with a brand new five-year mission ahead of him full of all manner of green women to sleep with, new civilizations to meet, and lives to save. And even if Kirk really does dream of putting the Enterprise behind him and settling down, it certainly wouldn't be with Antonia - it would be with Carol and David Marcus. Look how raw that wound still is in Star Trek 6 - it is silly to think that his son wouldn't be alive and well in any ultimate fantasy dreamed up by him.
    • Clearly the Nexus's ability to grant ultimate fantasies is exaggerated. "Being inside joy," my eye. Heck, both Picard and Kirk leave theirs with relatively little fuss — how great can this Nexus be? Maybe it works better on El-Aurians.

     Is he Really Out? 
  • How does Picard know that he's not still in the Nexus at the end of the film? His ultimate desire was stopping Soran, and then going on to continue to have adventures as Captain of the Enterprise, and that's exactly what happened in this and the following movies. How does he know the Nexus isn't just giving him what he really wanted all along?
    • Well, he doesn't. But me personally I think that Sf Debris was spot on when he pointed out that if we are going to go down this road, it is actually far more likely that he didn't enter the Nexus at all. Doesn't it seem far more likely that instead of entering this quasi-magical realm where all of you dreams come true, that an old man who is wearing an all-black outfit with no water and shelter passed out in the middle of the desert and is hallucinating all of this?

     The Prisoner Exchange 
  • During the scene where they swap Picard for Geordi, where does Picard beam to? The Bird of Prey or the planet? I always assumed that he went to the Bird of Prey given how someone removes his commbadge, but Picard is clearly using a Federation blue transporter beam when he appears on the planet instead of a red klingon transporter beam, implying that the Enterprise now knows exactly where on the planet Soran is. What's with the worry about where the probe is going to be launched from? Why not give Picard thirty minutes to negotiate with Soran and then send down an armed security team? It clearly takes longer than that for Geordi to return to engineering given how he finds time for a bath.
    • Perhaps the implication is that Picard was beamed down by the Bird of Prey and the blue transporter beam was just a special effects error.

     Did Soran Win? 
  • The Nexus doesn't seem to operate within time. Picard finds that Guinan is still in the Nexus, at least as what she describes as an "echo". Does this mean that Soran is, at least in some form, still in there too, and therefore he actually got what he wanted?
    • Yes and no. Remember that Lakul-Soran was actually nothing more than a bad-tempered yet as of then innocent refugee fleeing the Borg. In many ways it can be argued that this is a happy ending for the character as he is a man who witnessed unimaginable horrors and yet got back everything that he ever lost and loved. That is the optimistic interpretation though, for if time has no meaning in the Nexus, then potentially at least some part of the Soran that successfully destroyed Veridian to gain entrance managed to stay in there after Picard and Kirk changed the timeline; making him one of the most successful Star Trek villains of all time in terms of lasting consequences. Not only did half of him win, but he permanently destroyed the Enterprise and killed Kirk, which arguably puts him ahead of Khan.

     Sharing Is Caring, El-Aurian Refugees 
  • Not letting the Federation know about the rapacious horde of cyborg monsters that destroyed your civilization is kind of an oversight, guys.
    • It's possible the refugees didn't know much about the Borg, so they didn't have much to tell the Federation other than "something horrible happened to everybody else in our civilization and we didn't stick around long enough to find out what."
      • I'd add that the very fact that they managed to escape at all suggests that they didn't witness the attack firsthand. In Voy: "Dark Frontier," we see that the Borg make an effort to capture any ships that attempt to flee the planets that they're assimilating. If these people managed to get away, there's a good chance that they were already off-planet during the Borg attack.
    • In the Star Trek Enterprise episode Regeneration which is set in the 22nd century, a whole research team is killed on Earth, a ship is assimilated and destroyed, part of the NX-01 is assimilated, first hand knowledge of nanoprobes and energy weapons adaption is obtained, a medical treatment is developed, a corpse of a drone is recovered, and a message is sent into the Delta Quadrant with a set of coordinates. With or without those El-Aurian accounts, it makes the Federation look almost criminally negligent in documenting this new threat. One fan theory I've heard is that the events were classified for some reason (which would include the El-Aurian testimony), but that is unlikely considering the fact that the Hansons over on Voyager seemed to have at least a broad conspiracy theory as to their existence.

     Should we check the VISOR Soran was so interested In? Nah, it was probably nothing. 
  • Geordi is captured by the Duras sisters and Soran, and in Geordi's hearing Soran removes and examines his VISOR. When he is returned to the Enterprise his bugged VISOR leads directly to a "Galaxy class warship" loosing a fight with an obsolete Bird of Prey. So who was most incompetent here: Geordi for not saying "Soran was really interested in my VISOR, gee, maybe we should make sure he didn't do anything to it", Worf for not saying "Commander La Forge was a captive for some time. We should make sure they didn't plant anything on him", or Dr. Crusher for "removing the nanoprobe" from Geordi (which apparently references some scenes cut from the movie) but failing to notice the bug in his VISOR?