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Kirk's Bad With Dates (Not That Kind)
- On the subject of film chronology: the given time gaps between "Space Seed", "Wrath of Khan" and "Generations" don't add up. "Wrath of Khan" takes place when Kirk is turning 50 - that's the year 2283. They say that "Space Seed" happened fifteen years ago - officially, it happened in 2267, which is OK assuming they're rounding off. But then the Kirk-era part of "Generations" takes place in 2293... and in Kirk's Nexus fantasy, Kirk says "This is nine years ago!" Nine years ago, Kirk would have been commanding the Enterprise-A. If they wanted the fantasy scene to be of a time just prior to "Wrath of Khan" (which it seems was the intention), they should've said "eleven years ago".
- A mistake, plain and simple. But a possible explanation is that, in Real Life, people might say that something that happened in 1990 happened "ten years ago," even if it's 2009 or something. Possibly something happened two years ago to Kirk that made the number stick in his head, so he just said it without thinking, and no one wanted to correct him.
What does the Alpha Quadrant Look like?
- When the dust had settled, you pretty much had four great powers in the Alpha Quadrant: the Federation, the Klingons, the Romulans, and the Cardassians. Then there are secondary powers like the Ferengi, the Breen, and the Nausicaans, and one-off species like the Tzenkethi and the Son'a; but dealing just with the Core Four, this is complex enough, so let's leave them be.
- I'm not sure that the Cardassians are really in quite the same league as the others; TNG makes it quite clear that they were pawning their priceless cultural treasures in order to maintain their war economy against the Feds (and given that this war wasn't even mentioned onscreen until it was over, it's fair to assume that for the Federation this wasn't a conflict on anything like the same scale as the wars with the Dominion or Klingons), bearing in mind that during this time the Cardassians had a highly militaristic society and the Federation didn't even have dedicated warships and still they felt so unthreatened by the war with Cardassia that they were using the flagship as a taxi half the time; plus the Klingons go through them like a hot knife through butter in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It seems more likely that they're sort of first among the secondary powers, rather than a Great Power.
- Although we don't get much canon on this, it's hard to imagine the Cardassians as still being a major power after the Dominion War, as it was particularly unkind to them.
- I agree. To make some analogy with our world, lets say the Klingons, Romulans and Federation are like the US, Russia and China, then Cardassia is something in the lines of Iran, certainly a regional power and can give a good fight specially in a border's conflict, but can hardly withstand a whole invasion by any of the three above.
- At different points, each of the four powers is referred to as sharing a border with each of the other three. Assuming they all have contiguous territories—which I guess they might not—there are only two possible explanations: There's a point where the borders of all four come together at a ninety-degree angle and they meet in some center, like Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico; or three of them have borders that would come together and meet at a 120-degree angle (like an equilateral triangle divided into thirds) and the fourth one being plunked down in the center of this and extending out from the central point.
- Assuming that Federation's territory is continuous is kind of a stretch for this reason. Any planet can became a member of the Federation, that means that if a planet near Klingon space becomes a member, even if isolated from the rest of the Federation, that planet's star system (and its colonies if it has) becomes Federation space. Thus, is easy to see why the Federation has borders with everybody, their way to expansion has no reason to be continuous unlike empires that expand whether by conquest or by colonization which would be difficult to do if youre not territorially connected. Something similar happened with the Dominion which's an evil version of the Federation, with Cardassia as the most obvious example as it became a member of the Dominion and suddenly the Dominion had territory in the Alpha Quadrant. In fact if you see most maps (although all of them are non-canonical) you'll see pockets of Federation space. Of course, is logical that the Federation has some very large continuities of space, on one hand because its members tend to colonize other worlds thus expanding Federation territory continually, and on the other because as is logic Federation members obviously influence nearby worlds and if you live near the Federation border you'll be under its cultural, economic and political influence and joining the Federation would see appealing, is something similar on how the European Union expands (with their neighbors first) but you also has something like Cyprus which is nor even in Europe, is in Asia.
- This is all true, but the tendency is to visualize the Federation and other powers as amoeba-like blobs.
- Actually, the former doesn't work, either: The Federation had a Klingon Neutral Zone and a Romulan Neutral Zone and a Cardassian DMZ. So it had borders with all three extending for a good while. For the Square States model to work, it would only touch one of the three at a geometric point.
- As for the latter setup—I guess it works, but it's pretty stupid, isn't it?
- Allow me to introduce you to a concept called "3 Dimensions". Space is not a flat map where 4 regions can only meet at a single corner. Granted, this *is* Star Trek which adores the Space Is an Ocean trope. The boundaries can wander and roam all over the place, and it would be pretty easy for all 4 empires to share stretches of contiguous border.
- The relevance of the third dimension depends how big the empires are: the Galaxy is much narrower along its "vertical" axis (its thickness is only 1% of its diameter). While this is still an enormous distance, and it's reasonable to expect overlap, we're also dealing with incomprehensibly-huge nations here that may well extend far further than that in the "horizontal" plane. Assuming they each spread evenly from a central point, the borders would reasonably tend to line up when viewed from above.
- And another thing: Federation space includes a bajillion species, both Fed members and pre-warp civilizations whom they ignore under the Prime Directive but protect from foreign interlopers by maintaining their own territorial integrity. The Romulans have only the Remans. The Cardassians had only the Bajorans until they got thrown out. The Klingons tried to enslave two races in TOS and had one whom they had enslaved in ENT. But for the most part all three species had their space to themselves.
- If worths something, the Expanded Universe does establishes that the Romulans are a true empire, having control over several species, not only the Remans. The Klingons use to be like that but they mostly liberated most of their non-Klingon subjects but maintain a certain influence over them, something along the lines of the Commonwealth or the relation of Spain with Latin America and Ecuatorial Guinea.
- Now assuming that the likelihood of a Class-M planet will develop an intelligent race is pretty much the same anywhere (and I can't see any reason it wouldn't be) that means that the Federation is either much larger territorially than the others, or it has a much denser concentration of inhabitable planets, which one assumes mean many more resources to exploit. Either of those factors would give it a huge advantage over the other civilizations, would make the the Alpha Quadrant's dominant superpower. But it deals with each of the other three as equals most of the time.
- In the first half of TNG I could easily imagine the Federation being run by such shrinking violets that they can be bested by enemies a fraction of their size. Then the Borg came along and gave them a wake-up call. It's kind of like the United States in WWII: In 1940, despite being much larger than Germany, the US army was severely outnumbered, outweighed, and outclassed by its German counterpart, because the Germans were on a war footing and the US wasn't. In 1943, the US war machine was going all-out, and even without the rest of the Allies would have had every advantage over the Germans in a one-on-one fight.
- Where this breaks down is that the Federation had had a ton of Pearl Harbor moments, starting with Wolf 359, the near-war with Cardassia in "Chain of Command," the war with the Klingons in Season 5 of Deep Space Nine, the Dominion alliance with Cardassia, the second Borg invasion. . . . Eventually, the Federation certainly created the impression that it was going balls-to-the-wall to deal with all these threats. But if it were, and if it's as much a potential powerhouse as you suggested, it couldn't help being as strong in the Alpha Quadrant as the Dominion was in the Gamma—In which case it would have beaten the Cardassians and the fraction of the Jem'Hadar fleet that got through before the wormhole got cut off like a rented mule, even without the Klingons' help, and would have faced the entire Gamma Quadrant Dominion force on an even footing. Instead, it's barely keeping its head above water with the fraction of the Dominion fleet in the Alpha Quadrant, and at the beginning of the sixth season everyone's puckering their assholes at the thought the rest of the Jem'Hadar will show up and give the Dominion an insurmountable numerical advantage.
- Remember the Federation supposedly has no military, that most of Starfleet's ships are equipped for research and humanitarian aid and that most of the crew signed up for the engineering or scientific opportunities. Starfleet simply doesn't operate on the level of the Cardassian or Klingon militaries; it seems reasonable that the Federation must be many times larger and more (economically) powerful if it's even able to maintain an equal relationship. Even when they get onto a "war" footing, they're still mostly using obsolete ships (notice the Excelsior-class appears a lot in Deep Space Nine), crewed by personnel with woefully inadequate combat training, as they have no dedicated military academy or warship production facilities. The few instances where a ship or crew is up to scratch militarily (the Defiant, any Galaxy-class with the children offloaded) they're normally portrayed as being able to tear through enemy ships by the dozen, with the exception of the very first battle with the Dominion.
- While this is pure fanon, it is also possible that the Klingons, Romulans, and Cardassians have enough worlds and subject species under their control to have comparable resources to The Federation, but the fact that they are Empires that conquered these territories instead of democracies that formed alliances with them along with a healthy dose of institutionalized racism means that the races who these Empires are named after are the ruling class and are the only ones to rise to the positions where The Federation deals with them (i/e: Government and Military)
- The EU mentions that the Romulans do have several subject species apart from the Remans, the Klingon use to but mostly liberated them all just keeping a certain political and cultural influence like the Commonwealth of Nations to England, and the Cardassians only subjugated the Bajorans for a while. Regarding the likelihood of a Class-M planet will develop an intelligent race is pretty much the same anywhere thats actually not the case, in fact in a similar way how we have Goldilocks areas in solar systems that allow for the development of life, same happens with the Galaxy, there are areas of the Galaxy that are more likely to allow for the developing of life than other. Thus, that may be the explanation; Klingon and Romulans developed (or in the case of the Romulans colonized) areas of the Galaxy hostile for life, which would explain in the case of the Klingon why are they so toughened. Is not that this areas are totally unable to harvest life, some life form can develop, but is much more rare than in other areas thus the Klingon had very few inhabited planets as neighbors, whilst the original Vulcans that colonized Romulus choose it precisely because of its isolated position with very few inhabited planets around. Whilst in other areas life thrill and was plentiful as the area was perfect for the developing of life, this is the area where Earth, Vulcan, Andoria etc. are and as may sound logic the civilizations of this areas will interact with each other and have further cooperation and integration, similarly how we have the European Union or the United States (which was originally a confederation) in our world. In fact is very similar to our world how Russia and China hold very large territories many of them vastly underpopulated, like Siberia.
I hate having women on the bridge, right female first officer?
A fairly minor one from the first pilot, but... what is up with Pike's reaction when the female yeomen visited the bridge to deliver a report? He complains about having a woman on the bridge, to his female first officer! When she asks what the hell is up with that, he just claims that the first officer is different. No explanation given on what or why. And it's not even like the yeoman was going to permanently stationed on the bridge, she just delivered a report! What, are women supposed to wait until you leave the bridge to deliver reports? And aside from that, its not like he has anything against women in the command structure, since the yeomen was in the meeting room later in the episode.
- An EU novel states that it wasn't that she was a woman, but the fact that his previous yeoman, a male friend of his, had just recently died, so he was feeling a bit bitter.
- I always assumed Number One was treated as One of the Boys and therefore was excepted from the rule- Cpt. Pike pretty much implies it in the dialogue.
Somebody holds stock in a pecan pie company?
- Latter-day Star Trek has an odd obsession with pecan pie. What's with the pecan pie references, writers?
- Maybe it's for the same reason they like the number 47?
- As of 2020, that's four episodes between two different shows. If that qualifies as an obsession, the writers must also be getting payoffs from Big Asparagus. But to humor you: pecan pie is a popular dessert from North America, where Trip Tucker (who obsesses over it the most) was born. Star Trek routinely throws in references to modern generic Earth foodstuffs to connect with its audience, who might have a better idea of what they taste like than they would plomeek soup or gagh.
The names of Romulus, Remus, and Vulcan
- Why are the planets Romulus, Remus, and Vulcan, as well as their inhabitants, named after beings from ancient Earth mythology? It can't be just a function of the Universal Translator, because it doesn't translate the names of other planets, such as Klingon. And it can't be that those are just the names humans came up for them, because other races (including inhabitants of these planets themselves) use the same names as well. It's never mentioned or even implied any of these planets might have a different name in their own language.
- Well, the expanded universe does explains that the alien seen in the episode Who Mourns for Adonais? Named itself Apollo belong to a race of god-like aliens that inspired Earths Greek-Roman culture and ancient Vulcan culture. If this is ever explained on-screen, IDK.
- The concept is probably that these are just the human names for them and they have indigenous names that we don't hear just because of a Translation Convention. Diane Duane famously invented "Rihannsu" as the Romulans' name for themselves.
- If it's just a case of Translation Convention, why are there meaningful human names for these three planets, but not for any others, such as Klingon or Cardassia or Bajor?
- Well actually Klingon is not the name the Klingon give to themselves, is tlhIngan.
- This is just it: who's to say that they're not? The Romulans hail from a planet that for whatever reason got the classical appellation "Romulus." The Cardassians hail from a planet that did not get such a name — but it could well be that "Cardassian" is still just the name the Federation uses, rather than the indigenous name the Cardassians use for themselves (just as we English speakers generally say "German" rather than "Deutsch").
- That's a good example. The Federation calls "Cronos" (another Greek god) the Klingon home world, but the name in Klingon is Qo'noS, so we know that at least there's other case of translation convention. Wether cases like Cardassia or Bajor remain (probably) untranslated, that's not uncommon in real life either. Deutschland in German is call Germany in English and Alemania in Spanish for example, but Costa Rica is call the same in every language even when it means "Rich Coast", so there are cases in which, for whatever reasons, some names are translated and some not. Maybe the same happens with planets.
- I gather we're supposed to think that the name of the Klingon home world, Qo'noS, transliterates to "Kronos," the same name as the Titan, and this is a coincidence.
- These are likely exonyms. Much like Germany is an exonym for Deutschland, and Japan is an exonym for Nihon/Nippon, these exonyms are probably based on humans' impressions of the planets. Kronos, land of the titans. Vulcan...a hot place. Romulus, land of people who dress like Romans. Remus...the other inhabited planet in the same system as Romulus. It's a well precedented phenomenon.