Headscratchers / Star Trek: Insurrection

  • They discover a planet with the mysterious power to provide eternal youth and immortality. Its inhabitants have for centuries lived an idyllic, pastoral existence. Everyone there wants to maintain their peaceful way of life. The captain of the Federation's flagship is adamant that their wishes should be respected. The planet is surrounded by a immense cloud of lethal energy storms, even the most heavily-armored starships risk destruction should they try to penetrate it.
    • Starfleet Response: Where do those f*** ing hippies get off squatting on OUR planet?!
      • To be fair, they come around at the end because Picard points out that they're being pricks.
      • To be fair? Starfleet never actually knew. It was a rogue admiral who was the Starfleet representative on the whole deal, and his position was, "When Starfleet finds out, it'll already be done. And since I'll have the eternal youth drug, they'll just say 'bad boy,' and let me continue with my career."
      • Although the fact that he thought Starfleet wouldn't care enough to punish him either shows how insane he is, or sheds some light as to how evil Starfleet is. (I prefer to think he's insane.)
      • As most Starfleet flag officers are.
      • He makes a point about the Dominion War going badly, and suggests that Star Fleet Command has decided that desperate times call for enhanced interrogation techniques moral compromise.
      • An Expanded Universe novel reveals that this was a Section 31 operation. They don't exactly follow normal Starfleet procedures. After all, there's no way an official Starfleet operation would have a sanctioned cloaking device. Those are still illegal in the Federation, remember?
  • Throughout Star Trek in each and every one of its permutations, our heroes have been depicted as displaying compassion toward their opponents, even after some rather heinous actions on the villain's part. (Example: Kirk offers to help Kruge from falling to his death even though Kruge had given the order to kill Kirk's son earlier.) However, no one blinks at the thought of the Enterprise crew leaving Ru'afo to die on the exploding Phlebotinum collector when they could have just as easily beamed him off as they did Picard. I can't think of another instance when an ST villain was disposed of in this manner.
    • If you had a choice between absolutely saving your captain, one of the greatest men you'd ever known and someone you loved like family, and risking his life so that you could also save the man trying to not only kill him but commit small-scale genocide, would you seriously take the risk of your captain dying just so you could feel better about yourself on having adhered to principle? It's stated several times that the beam out had an extremely thin margin of error, period, so it's as likely as not that whoever was working the transporter realized they could only get one beam out, so of course they took Picard.
  • Sojef tells Picard that the colonists left their Crapsack World and arrived at the Ba'ku planet three hundred and nine years ago. Yet according to Riker and Troi's research, the Son'a conquered and subjugated two other races "half a century ago." Given that the Son'a were actually Ba'ku kids kicked out of the colony "a century ago" after failing to take over, this doesn't make sense.
    • Nothing says that these events had to happen one right after the other. The Ba'ku could have kicked the Son'a out some time before leaving their Crapsack World. They didn't have to kick them out as they were leaving their home planet.
    • I don't understand the problem. They colonized the planet three hundred and nine years ago. They banished the Son'a two hundred years later, or one hundred years ago. Fifty years later the Son'a conquered those other races. Fifty years from that is the present. Why is that confusing?
    • A more interesting set of questions in this vein is if there are only 600 Ba'ku, how are the Son'a supposed to have conquered those two races? Do the Son'a massively outnumber the Ba'ku? And if that's the case, then why did they leave the planet in the first place instead of exercising majority rule?
      • They obviously had warp-level technology when they were kicked out, which means they likely had something equivalent to phasers/disrupters and photon torpedoes to work with. The races they conquered were probably pre-warp civilizations who could have been laid low by a particularly canny and ruthless individual using a Federation shuttlecraft, let alone a full-sized ship. If they picked their targets carefully, it wouldn't take a lot of time and effort.
      • Heck, they needn't even use WM Ds if the races they enslaved were primitive enough; those drones they sicced on the Ba'ku certainly worked well against a weaponless population, even when the Enterprise crew had warned them in advance. No reason they couldn't have loaded those things with lethal ammo instead of transport-tracers and overwhelmed a few pre-industrial planets without a single Son'a even leaving orbit.
  • Geordi claims that Data's ethical subroutines were controlling him when he was running wild at the start of the movie. Even ignoring the question of how you can have him acting in a perfectly ethical manner beyond 'don't hurt people around you' how was firing on Picard's ship at all ethical? What exactly is his definition of 'ethical'?
    • Data didn't recognize people, only groups. The Federation and Son'a were threats, in which classification Picard's Federation shuttle would lie. Data could have destroyed it but didn't. He only tried to drive them off. He also made sure not to kill anyone.
  • Why the hell did the Son'a try to do the complicated plan of allying with the Federation? They already enslaved two races! They could take the colony by force! Alternatively, they were supplying drugs to the Dominion forces. Why not use the Jem'Hadar?
    • Because they'd have to launch a full-scale invasion. Crap area of space or not, the Federation is going to notice when warships start moving into its territory.
      • They were in the middle of a war. The Dominion was already sending ships through Federation territory, even holding on to Betazed. Yeah, that's weird. Troi seemed pretty chipper considering her planet was under Dominion occupation...but yeah. Send one ship with maybe 200 Jem'Hadar and problem solved.
      • The Son'a wanted to harness the power of the planet for themselves. Since the war was going so swimmingly for the Dominion, taking part in this harvesting operation would be unnecessary at best and a drain on their resources at worst. If they had to deal with the planet at all, the Dominion would most likely just carpet bomb it into oblivion, something the Son'a definitely wouldn't want. The Son'a came to the Federation because they'd be desperate enough to go along with the plan.
      • They wouldn't have to launch a full-scale invasion or use force at all. These people were pacifists who shunned technology, if the Son'a wanted the planet without killing any of the Bak'u, what was stopping them from building an internment camp in some remote corner of the planet and transporting the Son'a into it? Hell, that was more or less the exact plan that they were going to use to relocate the Bak'u anyways.
      • They don't need the full-scale invasion to deal with the Bak'u, they'd need a full-scale invasion to get to the Bak'u. The Bak'u planet is in Federation territory. In the "Son'a don't contact the Federation" scenario being presented, the Federation doesn't know the Son'a's motives, but they do know that they're allies of the Dominion, and if you're considered a hostile target and you're messing around deep in enemy space, you'd better have stealth, speed, or power so that the enemy forces don't blow you to hell because they think you're on a scouting mission or are otherwise considered a target of opportunity. A Son'a ship flying around Federation territory trying to do a secret mission is not going to be tolerated. A Son'a ship with a few Jem'hadar escorts are similarly not going to be tolerated. Sure, the Federation might be stretched thin, but they'll probably try to do something. Sure the Dominion was sending ships into Federation territory, but these were not lone vessels, and if they were, they were usually part of larger fleets that were too close to engage comfortably.
      • Why not just tell the Federation the truth? That they're members of the same species, returning home to settle a dispute. At that point it becomes an "internal matter." The Prime Directive would prevent Starfleet from protecting the Ba'ku.
      • Because it isn't an internal matter if the planet is in Federation space.
      • "Federation space" is an extremely nebulous concept. For example, planets occupied by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens that lie within the nominal boundaries of "Federation space" nonetheless routinely tell the Federation to stay out of their faces (assuming they have faces). In this case, the dispute is between two factions of a single species occupying a non-member world in territory loosely claimed by the Federation. They could scream "Prime Directive!" with impunity if they chose.
    • For all we know, the Son'a asked the Dominion for help first, but were turned down flat. The Founders, assuming they ever age at all, are probably too biologically different from humanoids to benefit from the radiation's effects, and their servitor-races are all brainwashed to be content with the lifespans they were given. Why should the Dominion divert troops away from more strategic targets, just to help Ru'afo throw a hissy-fit? Better to just crank out fresh Jem'Hadar faster than to chase after dubious medical treatments for troops that were bred to be cannon fodder anyway.
      • Even more, the Founders may fear that some of the subject species see the increased life-span tempting and want to rebel, Jem Hadar live like nine years IIRC.
    • Also, the film may have been attempting to imply that the So'na needed Federation resources to complete the project. After all, the collector ship seemed like some pretty specialized tech.
  • The Son'a exile doesn't make any sense. So the Bak'u children want to industrialize and reclaim their lost technology. Okay. So why didn't they just set up their own colony, ON THE SAME PLANET? Planets are — how should I put this? — fucking massive. And the Bak'u number six hundred. Why didn't they just say, "yep, we're exiled now, kthnx bye!" and set up a few hundred kilometers away? More to the point, how the fuck did the Bak'u manage to exile them? They refuse to pick up weapons! What are we supposed to think, a) the Son'a went into exile because of strongly-worded letters of disapproval, or b) the perfect Space Elves armed themselves and threatened to kill their children if they didn't run away and accept a slow death? Jesus Christ, the Bak'u are assholes. Picard should've just invoked the Prime Directive (remember, they're the same species, and the Prime Directive prevents him from interfering with internal matters of other races), and then lived it up thanks to the de-aging technology.
    • If memory serves the admiral suggests that the planet's effects would take too long to save them. So actually the movie gets even worse with the heroes refusing the option that keeps both sides alive.
      • The Son'a were dying — of old age — because they chose to go off conquering other planets instead of living in peace on the one that made them eternally young. After the logical consequence of their choice has caught up with them, they decided they'd rather have their cake and eat it, too. It would've been decidedly unheroic to steal other people's immortality to give it to these thugs who willingly gave up on their own.
    • The Son'a exile happens this way, if you pay attention to the movie: The rebellious kiddos say "We want to industrialize." The establishment says, "No, we don't want to." Rebels: "But we WANT to!" Establishment: "Go do it somewhere else then." Rebels: "NO WE'RE GONNA DO IT HERE!" Then the rebels try to take over by violence and force everyone to do what they want. They get their butts whooped and the establishment says "We don't care where you go but you can't stay here." 'Here' being the actual settlement itself. It was probably the Son'a's own decision to take some of the old technology and leave the planet... but even if it wasn't, they'd attempted a violent coup so exile is still a pretty lenient punishment.
      • How did the establishment do that butt whooping though? They were Actual Pacifist, refusing to fight even in self-defense.
      • Maybe they were less Actual Pacifist a hundred years ago.
      • That could actually work. The Ba'ku say that they came from a planet that was destroying itself in a war. The Son'a rebellion would have been a sobering reminder of their species' violent history.
      • The Bak'u probably kicked the Son'a's butts once push came to shove (or they weren't so pacifistic back then) and then went "Okay, you want to follow the ways of the Offlanders? (or whatever they called them) Fine, take this old P.O.S. and get the hell off our planet." Then the Bak'u gave them some barely even warp capable ship with no weapons and the Son'a were forced to wander the galaxy for a few decades at a snail's pace looking for better stuff. Given the Son'a's typical attitude by the time they had technology that could just annihilate the Bak'u they were too busy dealing with the metric crapton of enemies they made in the process to have the time for their revenge. Add in that the Federation had claimed the space and were at war with their allies The Dominion they had no choice but to barter with the Federation to complete their revenge before they died from old age. They might also have simply been reveling in their childhood fantasies of power and glory and thus didn't particularly care about getting revenge on the Bak'u until they started degenerating and really realized what being forced off the planet had really done to them.
      • To address the Actual Pacifist issue, perhaps the Bak'u adopted that stance as a DIRECT result of the Son'a rebellion. The adults get into a civil war with their own children, beat the crap out of them and force them off the planet, then after awhile suffer a Bak'u wide My God What Have We Done? and become Actual Pacifist out of regret for what they've condemned their children to.
  • The Ba'ku claim not to use machines in the movie. Ignoring the fact that we do see them using machines (primitive machines but still machines) in the movie where did their clothes come from? Those clothes look rather clean, they fit well and they don't have many apparent patches on them, none of which you would associate with clothes in a society that rejects machines to make and clean clothing.
    • Rejecting advanced technology doesn't mean they also rejected everything that technically counted as machines. And people in the past often had nice/clean clothing as well. One can only imagine how good someone could get with a loom if they had 300 years of practice.
    • The Ba'ku's EXACT stance on Technology is this: "Our technological abilities are not apparent as we have chosen not to employ them in our daily lives. We believe that when you create a tool to do the work of a man, you take something away from that man." The machines the Ba'ku use require manual work by hand. This does not contradict their stance in any way.
    • To put it as simply as possible the Ba'ku are Space Amish.
  • Why can't the radiation make Picard's baldness go away? It causes Worf to have accelerated hair growth, and Geordi to not only regrow his eyes, but make them functional!
    • Patrick Stewart lost his hair when he was especially young, like 21 or so. I wanna say he was in his 50s when this movie was made, so maybe it was just too much of a gap.
    • Plus the movies retcon Picard into having gone bald when he was that young as well, so unless the radiation started reverting him to a teenager (which it specifically doesn't do), it wouldn't make him grow hair on his head again.
      • But that doesn't really hold up as Geordi was born blind, so if the radiation couldn't regrow hair, it shouldn't be able to fix whatever genetic defect made Geordi blind. Not to mention (unless I misremember the film/misinterpret what is stated) it caused him to regrow his eyeballs which is surely more extreme than hair growth (and on that note, shouldn't Picard have re grown his heart if this is the case?)
      • The effect may have something to do with re-generation, having Geordi's eyes re-generated from whatever original problem cause his blindness is possible, but boldness is not cause by that, there are many causes but I'm pretty sure none of them get cure by re-generating organs or tissue. Also IIRC the effect not only make you younger, also healthier and, again, boldness is not a health issue.
  • One minor question. HOW DO THE TRICORDERS NOT RECOGNIZE THE BA'KU and SON'A AS THE SAME SPECIES? Shouldn't they have figured out that they are the same species once they scanned the Ba'ku and realized they were the same one as soon as one realized they were the same biosigns?
    • Chalk it up to operator error. The Medical Tricorders probably (I say probably because we don't know just how much futzing with their DNA to try to obtain longevity the Son'A have done) could, if someone thought to look for that relationship. Obviously no one bothered to check that out. Remember, Federation mindset is that you aren't supposed to care what species someone is, so with that in mind it probably didn't occur to anyone to scan for that. All cultures have their cultural blindspots after all.
      • It's not specifically stated if they had scanned both the Ba'ku and Son'a already. Dr. Crusher says the Son'a "declined to be examined" (doubtless to escape detection of this) and by usual medical ethics one cannot examine any patient without their consent. Presumably she thus felt duty-bound not to do this, and no one else had a reason to before apparently.
  • Why would the songs from H.M.S. Pinafore be loaded into the shuttle's computer? Surely more essential information would be loaded on a shuttle than an opera? Did Picard have the shuttles in the Enterprise loaded with HMS Pinafore in the event he got stranded or had to take a long shuttle trip and needed something to entertain himself?
    • Mr. Plinkett made the humorous observation that Picard only had to press two buttons to call it up. Have fun trying to figure out why a shuttle pilot would need Gilbert and Sullivan hotkeys on the helm console.
    • Guys, we have compact storage devices today that could hold several thousand songs, 300 years and access to aliens who've been around a lot longer probably means they could fit the entirety of 20th century media on something the size of an iPad (actually, IIRC, the Voyager Episode Prime Factors had something like the entirety of the Federation's media on something the size of a couple of glasses cases thick, and that may just have been the casing). As for how quickly he accessed it, the angle of his hands would indicate that it's not directly in front of him, but more to the side, centralized, if you will, like where the car radio would be if it was a car. Why they'd have such a thing, well, you need to kill the time when you're waiting hours for a spatial anomaly to appear.
  • Why did the Ba'ku repair Data? They believe that "if you create a machine it take takes something away from the man" so surely Data should be an abomination in their eyes as essentially he takes everything away from the man considering he effectively replaces a man.
    • They tried and failed, and given he just exposed the fact that they were being spied on, it's the least they can do. They're luddites, not jerks.
    • Data is not a machine created to replace a person's workload, he's a machine created to be a person. The Ba'ku are advanced enough to recognise that and progressive enough to realise that a different form of life is still a form of life.
  • Why did the Son'a want to relocate the Ba'ku anyway? It was clear That Ru'afo HATED them and the rest of the Son'a were probably doing this out of spite as well, so why didn't they just steal the rings and let them all die? It would've eliminated any need for a Federation alliance and Ru'afo would've had his revenge.
    • Unless I'm misremembering, the planet was inside Federation space while the Son'a were Dominion allies at the time. If the Son'a had tried, then they would have been repelled by a Federation task force before they got there or after getting there but before they could build the collector and make off with the particles. To achieve their goal they had to take the diplomatic route and butter the Federation up with promises of the benefits of an alliance.
    • Ru'afo simply wanted to get vengeance upon the Ba'ku, that's all there was to it. First he went with the "relocate them all without them noticing" plan because it would be deliciously ironic, the Ba'ku suddenly finding out within a decade that their magical radiation no longer works and they proceed to slowly languish away just like the Son'a did without any means to get themselves off the planet because they rejected technology, all the while the Son'a laugh themselves sick enjoying the benefits of eternal youth once again AND being technologically advanced race at the same time, and when that fails simply launching the Injector and killing them all. This is all under the assumption that Ru'afo's claim that the Injector actually WORKED to get those particles is true and wasn't just a load of B.S. the Son'a said to the Federation in order to use their doomsday weapon to kill off the Ba'ku and prevent the Federation from ever getting their hands on the particles ever as a last laugh to their enemies. Ultimately everything the Son'a that don't go against Ru'afo do throughout the movie is about getting this revenge.
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