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Laudanum
topic
02:43:44 AM Jul 26th 2013
edited by 69.172.221.4
Obviously there are a lot of Idiot Ball entries and nearly all of them are valid. However, just because you can't think of a very simple answer to your questions doesn't mean it is this trope.

  • Starfleet has been around for decades and have had Enterprise in the pipeline for several years, but apparently no-one felt they should bother actually giving the ship an actual destination? You'd think that since they were venturing out further than any Human had ever been, they could have done a little preparation and picked some destinations from the Vulcan starcharts they were allowed access too. Furthermore, there appear to be no first contact procedures, surveying procedures, away mission procedures... basically a sheer lack of any kind of procedure whatsoever? Starfleet seems content to let the Enterprise crew spend most of the time wandering around like tourists without any idea what they are doing! Where's all their supposed Academy training?

The following are the answers given to the above questions by the series itself:

Starfleet hasn't been out of the solar system yet (and it has only been around for a couple of decades at most, as Archer mentioned considering cargo-hauling as a career when he was a young adult before Starfleet was commissioned). Surveying procedures are understandable in terms of inhabitable planets, but they have had no experience with away missions or first contact. Wouldn't it be a better idea to have the person actually going out and experiencing things for he first time to have carte blanche to do whatever is within the realms of necessity and common sense as long as they follow certain ethical guidelines - which Archer does seem to do - rather than to have guidelines developed by people who have quite literally no idea what any of these things are like and have no basis or evidence to work from (although obviously this doesn't include security and ship procedures, I'm talking in terms of alien experience that would require first-hand knowledge of the dangers and hazards etc. to determine how to handle)? Archer and his crew are out there to gather such evidence and detail. The senior staff obviously have access to the Vulcan database and their guidelines to refer to if necessary, but otherwise depending on the person on the front line to act appropriately when you have nothing else to work with is probably one of the more sensible decisions Starfleet ever made. As for the Academy? It obviously doesn't exist yet as we know it as of TGN and DS9 considering there hasn't been anywhere to go until know (e.g. Travis only had two years of training at Starfleet academy before being commissioned as an ensign on Enterprise, and by all accounts it was less an academy and more like an astronaut program, where the focus was on the spaceflight and not diplomatic contact). As for destinations? Honestly, having Archer make a decision to go "somewhere that way" rather than having someone else make a decision to go in a different direction based on the exact same basis (i.e. not much) doesn't make a difference - the point is to explore the Alpha quadrant and you have to start somewhere. If Starfleet has a list of civilizations they want to have Archer come in contact with based on the Vulcan database or specific aims to complete, then that would be a different matter. Even then there's nothing for us to say that they haven't given Archer a loose list of aims to complete or idea of places to go, but the idea of this entire mission is to explore a completely new territory that no human has ever encountered before. If you are going to use the Vulcan database as a guideline for everything, then why not let them determine where you go and who you should meet or do joint expeditions? It would amount to the same thing. A significant point of the Enterprise expedition is to throw off Vulcan guidance and show that humans are capable of figuring things out on their own without their help.

Now, whether I approve of any of the answers that I gave or what I think of them is beside the point. However, the answers to the questions risen in this entry are very clearly given by the series, and here I am spending ten minutes putting them into words. (Although for the record I think Archer's common sense and tactical assessment could do with some definite fine tuning, and that Starfleet's confidence in his ability may be somewhat misplaced)

If someone wants to use the answers the series has given to the questions asked as proof of an Idiot Plot etc. then please go ahead. That would be a valid entry. E.g. The lack of training that the Academy supplied the crew with; humanity's persistence in not letting the Vulcans shape their guidelines and procedures.

LentilSandEater
02:04:04 PM Oct 4th 2013
Yeah I think the 'idiot ball' entries are going to be the same as long as this wiki is around.
hhardy
topic
09:45:01 PM Jun 16th 2013
Roles played by Jeff Combs did not include Balok on "The Corbormite Manouver" that was Clint Howard.
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