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    Evil Spreads at Warp 
  • About In a Mirror, Darkly. The Terran Empire. How in the hell, did a 90-year old(Counting from Cochrane shotgunning the Vulcan crew) warp-capable civilization just conquered most of the founding members of the Federation? Including Vulcan. Especially Vulcan. In prime-universe, Earth Starfleet just managed to acquired a warp-5 vessel, an astounding achievement for Earth, yet Vulcan have several Warp-7 combat cruiser. By that episode, ISS Enterprise and ISS Avenger was seen combating rebels. Assuming the level of Pre-Federation Earth and Pre-Defiant upgrade Emphuire have the same level of technological advancement rate, how did, Terran Empire, beat, and conquered, and enslaved, Vulcan, Andorian, and Orion, with a fleet consisted of ship capable of warp 4?
    • Assuming that the Terran Empire doesn't bicker with themselves, maybe they had Augment amongst their numbers?
    • As the crowd swarm aboard the Vulcan ship in the prologue one of them shouts something about grabbing all the technology they can. Presumably the mirror-universe humans reverse-engineered everything useful and gave themselves a technological leg-up.
      • I think what the OP is getting at here is that this is the real world equivalent of Iran managing to reverse engineer an F-22 Raptor and then proceeding to take out the entire US air force with it.
    • Perhaps they loaded that Vulcan survey ship with a bunch of strategic weapons left over from World War III and used them to take technology from whichever advanced civilization they came across first, either by extortion or just using them and stealing any advanced technology they could find in the ruins. That's more or less the Klingon/Pakled/Kazon model for technological advancement.
    • It's the Humans Are Warriors trope taken Up to Eleven, although it actually makes sense because humanity had recently emerged from World War III and thus, as a species, were still in a very militant-minded place. Give them Vulcan technology and they could wreak a lot of havoc. Especially since the Vulcans are shown to be tediously slow decision makers. If humans hit Vulcan hard and fast, they could subjugate the planet before the High Command even finished their preliminary assessment of the situation. It is a lot easier to mobilize for war if you are already on a war footing, which humanity was.
    • Two possible explanations I have always liked consists entirely around two particular races: Suliban and Xindi. Why would the Mirror universe be free from the effects of the Temporal Cold War and from the manipulations of the Sphere Builders? Even if you want to argue that their superior ships could have managed to destroy the first Xindi probe its still unlikely that the highly aggressive Terran Empire wouldn't have gone to war with them for it. So who knows how much technology they managed to scavenge from naughty time travellers and invading Xindi warships? If they managed to acquire the blueprints to their planet killing weapons in the process it would also go a long way to explain how they managed to defeat the Vulcans.
      • The Empire did go at war with the Xindi, according to the opening sequence (near the end we see Imperial starships chasing and firing Xindi ships). And given that the ISS Enterprise had a Suliban cloaking device in storage, I dare say they did get some technology from at least the Sulibans.
    • My take is that they caught everyone by surprise: between reverse-engineered technology advanced enough to be a threat, closeness to Vulcan and Andoria (Vulcan is canonically stated to be at around 16 light years, and Andoria is one of the neighbouring systems) and the two powers with a military capable of slapping down the Terran upstarts being locked in cold war between each other (plus Andoria having another cold war with the Tellarites), the Terran starships managed to get into Vulcan's and Andoria's orbit and force the surrender with the threat of nuking the planets. Also, the Empire was either unable to destroy all native military equipment or preferred to impose an hegemony instead of full rule, leading to the Vulcans, the Andorians and the Tellarite keeping around enough ships to later stage a rebellion and come close to victory.
    • It's possible - after all the Romans went from no navy to Kings of the Med by capturing a few galleys and being better soldiers. There are also several examples where states have made the mistake of inviting in 'dumb muscle' that turned out to be faster learners, and more ambitious, than expected.

    Lack of Species Diversity 
  • Something that just bugs me is the lack of alien species depicted as members of each planet's space fleet. The Vulcan fleet is composed entirely of Vulcans. The Andorians likewise. While we don't see anywhere near the full fleet of any world during the course of the show, we still are shown that T'Pol and Phlox are seen to be anomalies. But what about migration over time? Vulcan and Earth have been buddies for ninety years. You'd think that there'd be some sort of immigrant wave of humans to Vulcan, seeing what conditions were like in the mid-21st century. Or something like that. But why isn't it depicted? It can't be that Star Trek races are completely static. There must be alien immigrant enclaves scattered throughout the known universe, especially since some species have been in contact with each other for centuries, and longer.
    • This actually doesn't bother me as much. It's always struck me as highly unlikely that dissimilar species would be able to serve aboard a single vessel w/o significant issues occurring. Each species would require specific atmospheric and temperature settings,some would need higher or lower gravity levels and let's not even go down the "eating and procreation" roads,shall we? And as for moving to another planet,until warp travel (for humans,at least) became more widely available in the Star Trek universe,moving to another planet could have essentially been a decision to move there for the rest of one's life. Unable to afford to book more than one passage on a warp vessel (most people don't have money)returning home could be nigh unto impossible. So, it wouldn't just be like moving to another country. It would be like going back through time...and then having your time machine break in manner that you can't repair. Or that you CAN repair,but would take you many years and cost more money than you'll ever have.
      • The environmental issue also applies to entire worlds. For example, while humans can survive on worlds like Vulcan or Andoria, they would not be able to do so comfortably. It's rather like saying that yes, if America were devastated in a war, people could in theory relocate to places like the Sahara Desert or Antarctica, but relatively few would unless massive structures were built to provide a comfortable habitat for them. Vulcans, Andorians and others are unlikely to build special cities just so that humans could immigrate to their worlds. Your average Vulcan probably thinks that 90 degrees Fahrenheit is "air conditioning", while an Andorian thinks that 40 degrees is "heated". Both they (and humans) could live within these temperature ranges, but they wouldn't necessarily enjoy it.
      • Don't forget there'd be problems with language barriers, also. Universal translators are still in the prototype stage when Enterprise starts out, and aren't going to be commonly available to anyone but linguists or exploratory vessels for quite some time. Having to learn a new human language is challenging enough when someone immigrates to a new country; imaging having to learn languages it might not even be physically possible for humans to vocalize. That's the sort of thing that would motivate civilians to stick to planets colonized by their own kind for sheer convenience, even if their habitat preferences are the same as another species'.
    • Considering how sneeringly disdainful the Vulcans were of humans prior to that three-parter in early Season 4, I find it hard to imagine that Vulcan would accept human immigrants at all, and harder still to imagine that they'd let them do something as important as serve on High Command ships of the line. Remember, they had decided it was in the best interest of all parties involved to limit Earth's access to advanced technology, so letting humans onto state-of-the-art ships would be the last thing they'd want to do. And don't say "But these would be humans who are naturalized Vulcan citizens," if such a thing is possible at all; the level of assholishness among Vulcans in those days was easily enough to ensure they'd look at humans with suspicion.
    • This did eventually come up. Forrest was pushing for joint missions right before he died. The Vulcans were stonewalling him. Stands to reason that's been the precedent for the entire time they've been allies.
    • I actually find this natural: most of the powers of the era are mono-ethnic, and the two we know aren't (Klingon and Xindi) have reasons to not embark aliens on their ships (the Klingon are conquerors and not particularly nice ones, it would be incredibly stupid of them to embark their subjects. As for the Xindi, the various Xindi species simply don't trust each other that much). Remember, the Federation is still an idealistic dream, and would probably have stayed so for decades had the Earth-Romulan War not provided a reason to unite faster.
    • The Vulcans are, for all of their posturing about logic, hilariously large racists. Look at how T'Pol treats the crew in Broken Bow, look at how Sarek derides Spock's human heritage, look at how the Vulcan children bullied Spock as a child, look at how much Saavik is surprised when she first meets Kirk, look at how the Vulcan captain who challenges Sisko to a baseball game acts... these are not people that you want to live with. Or indeed, have move next door to you.
      • Well actually humans seem pretty racist over Vulcans too; Archer is clearly resented against Vulcans and frequently make ethnic comments, Mc Coy is constantly mocking Spock with racial slurs and offensive insults about his physiognomy, Tuvok is often mock because of his culture among the crew of Voyager, to be honest, I wonder why would a Vulcan want to live among such racist humans.
      • I seriously doubt anything said by McCoy should be considered racist. Much of the idea behind the original Star Trek is to create a world where there are no more issues of today, and racism was a major thing that led to World War II. This troper would classify it as friendly jabs at each other.
      • Calling somebody a "pointy-eared hobgoblin" sounds pretty racist, and were it not for the fact of Spock's emotional self-restraint would have likely resulted in an altercation.
    • Look at the state of the galaxy when the show starts. The Vulcans are a hairsbreadth from war with the Andorians, the Andorians are a hairsbreadth from war with the Tellarites, and everyone hates the Klingons (and the feeling is mutual). The only positive relationship is between Vulcan and Earth, and even that's strained, paternalistic, and on the verge of imploding at any given moment. There's just no reason for anyone to serve on a ship not of their species, and every reason not to.

    Terra Nova and Maths 
  • While it is generally accepted that "Terra Nova" had an Idiot Plot, it is still irksome. The original group of colonists was only 200 people! For real world comparison, Bermuda, a small island, has a population of nearly 65,000! Was the S.S. Conestoga packed to the rafters with nuclear weapons? How the heck would 200 people hold an entire planet against subsequent waves of colonists, especially if they landed thousands of miles away from the Conestoga colony site? They clearly did not have any tracking equipment, seeing as how they apparently never saw the incoming meteor that impacted the planet (of if they did, they were unable to do anything to destroy it). Why would Earth even take the first wave settlers' sovereignty claim and threats of violent defense seriously? Given that this was before Earth had developed really fast starships, and Terra Nova was an extremely rare Class M planet within reasonable (9 years) travel time from Earth, it seems incredibly bizarre that they would just abandon the idea of sending follow-up expeditions so readily, and leave the planet unvisited for so long.
    • I have to disagree with this. There's at least one real instance of this occurring in history, that being the so-called Lost Colony of Roanoke. Last contact with that colony was in 1587, and when a relief convoy arrived in 1590, they found the area deserted but in such a fashion that it appeared that the colonists had simply relocated. It took another 12 years until an actual search expedition was sent, and in 1602 they found nothing. If you add to that the Warp 2 barrier wasn't broken until 2143 (which would have reduced the trip from 9 years to about a year and a month,) that's still a long time to go out 'hunting' for something like that and might not be worthwhile.
      • We also have a lot of still-uncontacted tribes on Earth that we actively choose to avoid, partly because of some form of Prime Directive equivalent. One big driving force behind the UFP is to always, always use diplomacy before anything else, and if the inhabitants don't want company then Earth won't come knocking. Yes, it seems dumb to us that there's a perfectly good planet they're not taking, but contextualise it in the world-view of Star Trek, not our world-view.
    • Neither of those are valid comparisons. The British lack of interest in following up on the lost Roanokae was largely based on the international competition over the Caribbean, which was perceived to be more lucrative by most of the colonial powers. This would last for centuries, to the extent that it was a factor impacting British troop availability during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. In contrast, Earth did not break Warp 2 until 2143, meaning that any nearby inhabitable planet would have been incredibly valuable. Also, the entire colonization effort was government-sponsored, not private. The colonists were not an independent group or an uncontacted tribe. Applying Star Trek reasoning also does not work because at that point in history Earth was not as idealistic as it would be in the 23rd and 24th centuries.
      • Bear in mind that Earth is not acting like a modern superpower, able to do what it wants to whoever it wants, in this time period. Earth is essentially a client state of the Vulcans, if the Vulcans don't want any follow up, or say that Earth needs to take more time, or any one of a dozen other potential things, then Earth does what it is told no matter how it chafes. As a series Enterprise is essentially about Earth transitioning from a client state status to a more independent, but still not superpower, position in the galactic community.
      • Again, not a valid comparison. Remember that during the seventy years that Earth was ignoring the fact that Terra Nova had gone silent they were constantly whining to the Vulcans about wanting help building faster warp drives so that they could explore further out into space. It would have actually been more logical for the Vulcans to encourage Earth to focus their interstellar space program on continued colonization of Terra Nova, rather than looking for other planets further away from Earth itself. This is very likely the "price" that was mentioned when asked why Earth did not just ask the Vulcans to investigate the lost colony. Earth was afraid the Vulcans would say that it was still safe for colonization outside of that one area and insist that Earth resume colonization efforts on Terra Nova. But that would have weakened Earth's argument for why they needed faster warp drives. Planets are BIG. Earth could have easily spent the next century moving millions of colonists to Terra Nova.

    T'Pol and the i Pod 
  • In Catwalk, Archer watches water polo on his tablet, in portrait format, and T'Pol is bothered by the sound. Does the future not have earphones, or iPads that can be turned sideways? And why couldn't T'Pol turn off the beeping on her tablet?
    • The earphones and the sound control I have no answer for. However in the real world this was 2002, and as quaint as it may seem now, turning your PDA sideways was largely unheard of until smartphones and tablets and user-friendly additions frequently took a backseat. Technology Marches On is a trope that you just have to accept with Star Trek nowadays.

    Romulan Behaviour 
  • In Kirk's time the Romulans were sneaky, but honorable. In Picard's time they will use any means to achieve their ends. The Roumulans in Archer's time are acting like those from Picard's.
    • It's called Flanderization (where a character gets gradually exaggerated, only this case it's a whole species).
    • True for the Klingons as well, though to their credit they did a halfway decent job of explaining that away as best they could. Actually, there's a lot that makes the 22nd century look much closer to the 24th than the 23rd
    • I see no way to call it anything other than careless writing. There are stray examples in our history of one generation going back to an idea that had been popular in an earlier generation but was discredited in an intervening generation. I don't think those are going to help us here, though.
    • It's best not to think too hard about integrating TOS with the rest of canon. Roddenberry's stance on continuity when he was alive was that what was released last was right.
    • It would have been really good to see Klingons acting differently, they really missed an opportunity there to make Klingon society seem dynamic by having the chronologically earlier Klingons be something new and different, which is a bit odd because they at least made an effort to do that with the Vulcans.
    • Begging your pardon, but there are a fair few honourable Romulans in Picard's time. Commander Toreth in "Face of the Enemy" for example.
    • Chalk it up to social change. The social values of humanity/the Federation also bounce around quite a bit throughout the various series. Nowhere is this more evident than with the endlessly controversial Prime Directive, which often ranges from being utterly sacrosanct to being something that can be disregarded as needed, sometimes even within a single episode! Likewise, other races may change character, especially depending on their political situation. It was considered a major issue of what the Klingon Empire's stance towards the Federation would be if Duras became Chancellor rather than Gowron, and in turn Gowron himself would later become problematic leading to yet another shift under Martok.
    • Also consider that in TOS, we only have "face-to-face" contact with Romulans twice in the series. One of those encounters could be considered with a Romulan of honor (at least by human standards); the other not entirely the clearest. In general, the Romulans have always been an insular, xenophobic race, and their characterization in ENT is consistent.
      • For that matter, the second "face-to-face" contact in the original series showed the Federation as an example of a generally honorable society resorting to black-ops dirty trickery. No species or nation is perfectly consistent about such things all the time.
    • For what it's worth, Diane Duane credited Romulans from "the eastern continent of ch'Havran" (Remus) with the really terrible things the Romulans did, and a plot point in her Rihannsu novels is that young Romulans are eager discard honorable dealings in favor of "whatever works" (neatly setting up the more treacherous Romulans of TING). It's probable that, had the series gone on to the actual Romulan War, we would have seen a more nuanced portrayal of the Romulan people.

    Taking Disbelief Too Far 
  • In "The Expanse" Vulcan refuses to support Earth's plans for an expedition into the Expanse because they don't buy Archer's cock-and-bull story about a time traveler (this was before time travel became a fact of life in Star Trek) having told him that he needs to go into the most dangerous part of the known universe in search of some species no one's ever heard of. Fair enough. But throughout the series, Archer is able to produce more and more evidence that the threat is real, and some of it finds its way back to Earth in the form of reports. Now I guess it's possible that Forrest has decided not to share these reports with Soval (though he did tell Soval about the ship full of Vulcan zombies, which was the only thing Soval wanted to talk about when Archer got back). Still, I just can't believe that the Vulcans had no idea something was up. By the end of the season they really should have offered some support to the humans. Look at the consequences of not doing so:
    1. Both humans and Vulcans are forever referring to one another as "allies," which means they've got some sort of mutual defense arrangement. So Vulcan is breaking its treaty obligations—which makes their other allies, real and potential, inclined to distrust them.
      • Did they? In "The Andorian Incident" Archer deliberately, almost maliciously, gave away sensitive Vulcan military secrets to the Andorians purely because he was pissed that he got beaten up (by the Andorians!) after inviting himself to go visit the Vulcan monastery despite the fact that they certainly never asked him to! It could readily be argued that Archer threw away Earth's treaty with the Vulcans right then and there, especially since Earth had no similar treaty with the Andorians, and thus no obligation to protect their interests over those of the Vulcans!
    2. Humans had already been pursuing an increasingly independent foreign policy, but when the Xindi arc started they had depended on Vulcan military support, meaning that the Vulcans could use that to snap us back into line if we ever got too cute. But by refusing to provide that support when it was needed, they left a void . . . which was filled by their cold war archnemeses, the Andorians! How did no one think "Uh oh, if we break our treaty obligations and the Andorians send in The Cavalry, the humans might start siding with the Andorians against us."?
      • By this point it was already starting to look as though Archer and Earth were cozying up to the Andorians! The Vulcans had valid reasons to question whether or not Earth was even really their ally, or if Earth was just their nominal ally because the Vulcans were the first alien species with which humanity had made contact. Keep in mind that Archer had already proven willing to hand over Vulcan military secrets to the Andorians. At this point, the relationship was very one-sided. Vulcan had far more to offer Earth than vice versa. But, at the same time, there was more than a little evidence that the emotional humans might switch alliances to the similarly emotional Andorians if they thought it benefited them. Indeed, the Vulcans had no reason not to believe that Archer was just trying to lure their ships into the Expanse to be destroyed so as to weaken Vulcan ahead of a joint Andorian-Human invasion!
    • Maybe the Vulcans didn't know about/believe in the sphere builders and the threat they posed to the entire Alpha Quadrant. But even if they didn't, they had to know that the Xindi existed. They had to know that the Xindi built superweapons the likes of which the Vulcans had never seen. They had to know that the Xindi attacked other species without issuing declarations of war or opening any diplomatic channels whatsoever; they just show up out of nowhere and fire off their Death Star. And now they want to operate in space—space in which they don't even pretend to have any territorial claims—that's well within the Vulcan sphere of influence. Who the hell would allow such people to operate with impunity in his own backyard?
    • The Vulcans knew about the Xindi? To them, the Delphic Expanse was like the Bermuda Triangle. I don't think the Vulcans would waste ships and crews trying to explore it after he explicitly said "Vulcan ships have entered it, but few have returned."
      • At the start of the season, yes. But Archer confirmed that the Xindi weapon existed early on in his mission and shared that info with Forrest. Why wouldn't Forrest let the Vulcans know about it? Since they weren't offering assistance it makes sense that he wouldn't share anything very sensitive with them, but not even confirming the Xindis' existense? What, was he afraid that saying "Told you so!" would hurt the feelings Sovol doesn't have?
    • And yet the Vulcans never helped the humans, and never suffered any of the above consequences. Soval's conversation with Archer in "Home" made it clear that none of these things had ever even occurred to him or his superiors, and after Archer vented a bit he, and every other human, shrugged his shoulders and said "Eh, it's all right, we're cool."
      • I think the problem is that the only time the Vulcans were in a position to help was at the start of the mission. After that, Enterprise had such a head start on any Vulcan ship that might try to enter the expanse, and things were moving so quickly to a head, that there's not much they could have contributed. It'd be like Portugal changing its mind about Christopher Columbus after he's halfway across the ocean. The best thing the Vulcans could have done at that point would be to help bolster Earth's defenses in case Archer fails to stop the sphere. That doesn't seem to have happened either, in that there didn't seem to be any defenses in place whatsoever when the Xindi sphere showed up, so Earth and Vulcan seemed to have equally dropped the ball on that one (maybe they had a joint fleet hanging around somewhere and for some reason we just didn't see it onscreen).
      • As the Andorians proved, if any actual superpower wanted to catch the Enterprise, it would have been unbelievably simple. Vulcan ships are a lot faster than the Enterprise is. What took them X amount of months a Vulcan ship could manage in half the time.
    • Part of this sits on the fact that the Vulcans are characterized here as being flatly unwilling to cut humans the slightest amount of slack when it comes to technological advancement. They'll show up to prove they're superior, but they won't lift a damn finger if is in any way beneficial to humanity as a whole. They were probably also busy with their war with the Andorians and didn't want to spare the ships.
      • Making the Vulcans look Jerkass was essential to compensating for the Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide" hypocrisy of Archer and Earth seeking any alien assistance, especially after the events of "Dear Doctor"! Seriously, it's not as if Archer had proven himself to be a paragon of moral virtue, and one could easily get the impression that Earth and humanity were just a bunch of entitled brats who believed that every other species should cater to their needs and prioritize their survival and advancement. In other words, to make the Humans Are Special trope come across as a little less crass than it would have been had the Vulcans been presented in a more benevolent manner, they instead needed to be complete jerks so that humanity could look better in comparison.

    Dumb Move from the Xindi 
  • Why would the Xindi test a prototype Planet Buster on the planet they want destroyed? If they are so deathly afraid of humans, then don't let them know that you're coming. Had they tested the weapon on a moon in their space, like they did with the second test model, and only attacked with the final product when they were ready then Earth never would've had a chance. The Xindi tipped their enemy off to their plans and gave them enough time to defeat them.
    • As I recall, Degra or another Xindi mentioned that the Council insisted upon a "live demonstration", so to speak. They didn't want a mere test, they wanted to see it used on living beings.
      • So why wouldn't they then go test it on that Western planet that not only had humans, and was much closer, but no way of retaliating or warning Earth about what was going on?
      • Because they didn't know about that planet. Its not like the people their are broadcasting a human civilization lives there. They don't even have electricity.
    • What bothers me most about the prototype Xindi weapon is that, while everybody acts like its some kind of super-weapon, it's actually quite weak. A few nukes would have done about the same amount of damage (7 million killed, hundreds of square miles uninhabitable) and been much, much smaller to move around. Why didn't the Xindi just send a couple dozen nukes at Earth instead? (A possible explanation is that Earth had some technology to intercept and/or defuse nukes which didn't work on the Xindi beam, but that's never mentioned in the series. The writers are just pretending nukes don't exist, when TOS clearly shows they do, and were used, around this period in history in the first war against the Romulans.)
      • Maybe it's because by that time clearing away fallout is really easy and if they just dropped nukes it's the equivalent of a normal bomb going off. Annoying, but can be cleared up in a few weeks. The Xindi weapon leaves a more permanent scar.
    • This troper believes it would have made a lot more sense if the first attack was supposed to be the planet-destroying one but the machine failed for some reason and exploded/self-destructed. So the Xindi had to build a better one while now dealing with a pissed-off human race.
    • According to semi-canaon expanded universe works, the first attack was intended to be the "real" attack on humanity by igniting the Earth's atmosphere and killing humanity that way. When that didn't work they progressed to the larger weapon version which was intended to physically destroy the planet and not just render it uninhabitable. This only cuts the show so much slack, however, since they again apparently hadn't tested their burn-the-atmosphere technology before using it, and this also wasn't mentioned in the show.

    Why Not Build an Array? 
  • If the verteron array is capable of firing a FTL beam from Mars to Earth with enough accuracy to hit a specific building, why didn't they build one of those on Earth or the Moon after the Xindi attack? It would make short work of any hostile ship before they even got close to the planet.
    • It takes two minutes to charge, so unless you have dozens scattered around the planet, it would only be good for a single shot. Starfleet also maintains a planetary fleet (at least in this time) to deal with close threats.
      • 2 minutes is a pretty good response time considering they don't know what direction the Xindi weapon will be coming from or how close it will appear to Earth. And a hell of a lot faster than the response time the defensive fleet had (or didn't have). They were nowhere to be found when the weapon got to Earth, but over a dozen ships showed up immediately when Enterprise was back to its own time period, so it's not like there weren't any ships.
    • Because an hostile ship can see the attack arrive and move away. Also, since when it was faster than light?
      • The DVD Commentary addressed that. The writers had originally wanted the array to just be a very powerful laser, but realized that such a beam would be limited to the speed of light, and therefore couldn't reach its target in a reasonable amount of time (it takes anywhere from 4 to 20 minutes for light to travel between Earth and Mars, depending on how far away from each other they are in their respective orbits). They invented the fictional, FTL "verteron" particles to get around this problem.

    Zero Hour, Zero Preparation 
  • What really gets me is "Zero Hour". Enterprise has been searching for the Xindi weapon for nearly a year. And when the weapon finally arrives...we see no operational defense platforms, no additional starships (Starfleet or Vulcan), NO indication that humanity was preparing itself for another attack. Did they pin all their hopes on the Enterprise and not establish any contingency plans? And remember, the Reptilians destroyed a space station! Shran showed up! The attack DID happen in the 22nd Century!
    • And in "Home" we see a whole bunch of Starfleet ships come out to greet Enterprise. Why didn't they fly against the Xindi weapon? There were more of them than there were of the three little runabouts that flew against the Borg in "Best of Both Worlds Part 2," and the weapon was smaller than the cube.
    • Think about it. Long range sensors picks up the Xindi weapon escorted by two Xindi ships and no Enterprise in sight. There's no way for these sensors to tell that the smaller Xindi ship has gone over to the good guys and is carrying a commando team that's ready to beam over and attempt to destroy the weapon from inside. Even if they did know this, AND knew that Shran was about to fly in out of nowhere and take out the larger ship, what's to gain by keeping the Starfleet ships grounded? It's not like Shran's ship plus the late Degra's shuttle have such an overpowering advantage over Dollim's ship plus the Baby Death Star that we can feel confident of the result to the point that we'd just be getting in the way if we tried to contribute.
    • Oh, and let's not forget that at one point, Archer sent back details on the weapon they had obtained. Maybe communications aren't as fast as they are in TNG, but you'd think they'd say in the penultimate episode "HEY!!! The weapon will be there in ten hours! Have all possible ships ready!"

    Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, How I Wonder Where You Are 
  • How does the plotline of "Breaking the Ice" even work? A key plot element of that episode is that part of the crew is stranded on a comet, putting them in danger of burning up when their side turns to face a star in a few hours. Problem is: Unless I missed something, no nearby star is ever shown.
    • That is a good question. An even better question is why they think a shuttle would burn up from the sunlight on a comet when the shuttles are designed to handle atmospheric entry on a regular basis.
      • The plot also relies on a comet—the diameter of which is about the length of Enterprise—having Earth-like gravity.
      • WRT a shuttle handling atmospheric entry, the heat from atmospheric entry is caused by high speed de-orbiting. It's essentially air braking. If a ship has enough energy, and Trek ships usually do, they can land on a planet straight down as slowly as they want and never experience any heating.
    • They're bad with comets that way. In both "Death Wish" and, less debatable, "Destiny," comets are shown with those magnificent tails... in deep space, where they don't have tails.
    • All of you are missing a few important details. 1) There was no danger of the shuttlepod "burning up" when the star rose into view; the danger was that in direct sunlight, the ice that the shuttlepod had landed on would become unstable and collapse under the weight, which it did, 2) the comet is composed of eisillium. This may be a dense enough material to give it an earth-like gravitational pull or have some other exotic properties, 3) the comet in "Death Wish" was a prison for a Q, so it doesn't have to be entirely comet-like anyway, 4) a rogue comet could have a tail if it was passing through a solar system; rogue just means it's not caught in a star's gravity well, not that it is in deep space for all time; plus, the comet in "Destiny" also had high amounts of silithium in it, meaning that the comet had a brighter tail than usual, i.e., if it was supposed to have a fainter tail, it didn't., and 5), you did miss something. There's a very prominent shot of the star around 36 minutes into the episode, as Mayweather and Reed are limping back to the shuttlepod. You can't see the star in other shots earlier in the episode because the 'camera' is not pointed towards the star at that moment, but if there wasn't a star at all nearby, you wouldn't see the comet very clearly (or Enterprise, for that matter).
      • The only one of these I'd quibble with is "Death Wish," where they do indeed comment on its strangeness but not in a "it has a tail but shouldn't" way.

    A Planet Around a Supergiant Star? 
  • Rigel is a blue supergiant star. Blue supergiants are up to a million times as bright as the Sun and have a lifespan of only a few million years. I'm all for creativity and fictional speculation, but to say that the existence of fully-evolved, intelligent life on a planet around Rigel is impractical would be a vast understatement.
    • Why scratch your head about it here? Reference to Rigel as an inhabited system go back to the original series... and this is indeed mentioned on the Star Trek Headscratchers board.
    • And to make it even more baffling, there are several different sentient species from several different planets in the Rigel system.
    • This is really baggage from TOS, which was far more prone to using the names of real stars and other stellar bodies, often in ways contradictory to actual astronomy.
    • I agree. In the very first episode of Enterprise the Klingon says the name 'Rigel' and T'Pol has to tell Archer that it is a star system. And he knows nothing about it. Archer is a man with a detailed Astronomy book and has had a vested interest in it his whole life, yet he doesn't know about the star Rigel? Seems to me like the names of some stars in the Trek Verse don't match the real ones.
      • Or you know, Archer is just an idiot. This was the same starship captain that had to ask T'Pol why it was taking longer to get where they were going after they'd slowed down! I wouldn't put this guy in charge of putting my hat on straight, let alone Earth's most advanced spaceship.
      • There is a difference between knowing a lot and being smart. You can, with a bit of time, memorise pi to 300 digits or the atomic weights of all 118 known elements. But that's not really useful beyond bragging rights. If you have a computer that you can use to pull up information on star systems, I don't see a need to memorise the names of hundreds of thousands of stars in the galaxy - it's probably more important to memorise how to keep the ship running.

    Good Gravy! There's Still a Navy! 
  • Why does the Royal Navy apparently still exist? I can see why they might maintain a small fleet for traditional and cultural purposes, but the story implies that it's still a full-scale military organisation. Not only does a single starship outclass even the most powerful navy hands down, but Earth has a unified world government by that point - what would it even be for?
    • Probably that traditional and cultural role you mentioned. Also, pirates.
    • Or it's been reduced to a coast guard, as even a world at peace would still need rescue services and anti-smuggling patrols.
    • Also, keep in mind that while Earth has a unified world government, it is a rather young unified world government (depending on how you interpret one statement, the last holdout didn't join until 2150, not more than a year before Enterprise began, and it can at least be said that the UE wasn't fully in place by 2120). The Royal Navy may simply not have completed the gear-down from full-scale military organisation to a cultural-traditional/coast guard role in the 'modern day' of the show.
      • Or, it could be similar to how the National Guard is organized in the United States. This is a bit of an oversimplification for the sake of clarity, but National Guard units serve individual state governments as that state's militia, but in times of war and emergency, units from those states can quickly folded into the US Army's command structure. Functionally, they become part of the US Army, while still keeping their identity as, say, the Nevada, Arkansas, or Oregon National Guard.
    • Bafflingly, Tom Paris mentions in the Star Trek: Voyager episode Thirty Days, that after he graduated high school, he had wanted to join something called the Federation Naval Patrol. His stated motivation had been his love of the ocean and his fondness for Captains Coragious, Moby-Dick, and ''Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea," so whatever the Naval Patrol was, it seems that it was a seafaring organization, rather than being one that operates in space. It would seem that for there are still navies inexplicably operating as late as the mid 24th century.
      • It's not hard to imagine that come the 24th century, the Federation Naval Patrol provides water-based resources on a variety of worlds, not just Earth. After all, just because you can fly in space, that doesn't mean you still won't need ground troops, terrestrial air units or aquatic ones.
      • There is always the possibility that the Naval Patrol isn't a military organization at all but some form of Coast Guard there to rescue any stricken citizens - there is no reason to believe there wouldn't still be a large amount of commercial shipping still on Earth such as Cruise Liners or the odd Shuttlecraft crashing at sea. There is also something called the Atlantis Project mentioned in the Next Generation episode Family where Picard's friend Louis is attempting to create a new continent; which logically would also have required a reasonable amount of boats to accommodate. There will always be at least one person that doesn't want to fly or beam there as well as the obvious fact that transporters and shuttles have a habit of unexpectedly breaking in the Trekverse.
      • It's also possible that it is a law enforcement agency.
    • Britain probably still has the same views concerning Earth affairs in the Star Trek universe as it does in our universe's present day.
    • Just to make things even more confusing, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it viewscreen shot from the Next Generation implies that some Federation starships still bear the prefix HMS. Good luck working out what that means.
      • Could it actually stand for "His/Her Majesty's Ship?" In other words, could those ships be operated by the United Kingdom in whatever form it takes by the 24th century? Operating under the authority of the UK government but acting as a reserve or auxiliary to Starfleet? A few states in the US operate naval militias, despite the existence of the US Navy and Coast Guard.
    • Same reason Blade Runner has ceiling fans. They work and are efficient. Ocean ships float and thus are extremely energy efficient. Most likely their missions will be overwhelmingly ship to ship related.

    Why Bring the Dog? 
  • A Night in Sickbay. Why was Porthos (a dog please remember) ever brought down to the planet, especially for delicate negotiations for a vital piece of equipment? Did it never occur to Archer that a dog might react in an unexpected manner that would dash these negotiations? He's lucky that all Porthos did was piss on a sacred tree.
    • This spotlights an absurdity rampant through much of Star Trek. These ships are off to meet other civilizations, so shouldn't protocol be a huge deal? To the point that there should be people on board devoted to nothing else?
    • In later series they do acknowledge the need and are occasionally shown being briefed on protocol. On Voyager, Janeway promotes Neelix into the role of ambassador due to his talent with such things and he's almost always shown as being good at it.
      • A big part of Counselor Troi's job seemed to be preparing Picard for diplomatic missions. She actually could be seen doing it in several TNG episodes (whenever she wasn't crashing the ship or encouraging androids to go on murder-sprees).
    • Likely as a way of emphasizing that the humans on board Enterprise really don't know what they are doing. They talk a big game, but they demonstrate lots of times that they have no clue what they are doing in space. Hoshi brings aboard a pet slug-thing that starts dying because she took it out of its natural environment. Archer's dog pisses on a sacred tree. Trip embarrasses our species every time he opens his mouth. If not for T'Pol, the ship wouldn't even have survived its first mission. Its the show's way of saying that No, we aren't ready for that big step into space, but we'll go anyway, so that we can learn from our mistakes (except for Trip.)
      • The episode mentions that Archer's supposed to be a trained diplomat. I'd say it's more the writers not having any idea what a good diplomat and officer is supposed to donote .
      • I would point out, however, that for all his virtues, Kirk was a pretty lousy diplomat, himself. Most of his attempts at diplomacy ended in a fistfight, the aliens of the week throwing him and Spock in prison, and another fistfight. Gunboat Diplomacy was his forte, but he wasn't above just sleeping with someone to get his way. And that's not even touching on how he conducted himself with Gorkon and his party in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. If Kirk's skills are typical for Starfleet captains of the era, it seems that Starfleet isn't going to figure out the whole 'diplomacy' thing until about the mid-24th century.
      • Actually, it makes Archer seem like a pretty bad dog owner (we already know he's an idiot)! Think about it: alien planets = alien diseases. They already have to put effort into making sure that the human (Vulcan, Deobulan...) crew doesn't pick up The Plague and bring it back to the ship since they don't have nifty transporter bio-filters literally scrubbing them from the inside-out yet. This also fails to take into account both alien domestic animals and wildlife. On Earth, a coyote or some large raptors would happily kill and eat a small Beagle (as would some other dogs)! Did Archer check to make sure that the native wildlife was not a possible hazard for a small pet?
      • This is the same man who kept feeding cheese curds to his dog even after it was established that Porthos was lactose intolerant. Archer has a soft spot for his dog that sometimes overwhelms his sensibilities.
      • While some dogs do have lactose intolerance, that's not explicitly the case with Porthos. Per "Dear Doctor," dairy gives him gastrointestinal distress.
      • I always thought Porthos simply couldn't have too much cheese, but a little was fine. As for the diseases, that ain't stopping the humans from going to alien planets, so why not the dogs?

    How Did Phlox Find the Parasite? 
  • Twilight. So a top fan favourite, but the whole solution doesn't seem to really hang together. T'Pol and Phlox get rid of some of the parasite, this apparently erases the infection not just now, but also in the past. Phlox can't see the parasite on the old scans anymore. This being so, how the crap does he know the parasites were there? If the computer scans can't "remember" the parasite why can everyone else remember them? Shouldn't the first application of the technology have removed everything by a process of incremental timeline updates? The device removes a chunk, so timeline resets so that chunk never existed and so they target the device, when used for the first time, on a different chunk. Which then never existed and so, etc. etc.
    • Either they didn't think of that or thought viewers would get confused. Also, it would have effectively killed the drama. The first use would have been an immediate success thanks to causality.
    • Also, if Phlox had eradicated the parasite, which erased it from history, then he wouldn't remember it, and so would have targeted another parasite (otherwise he'd be aiming at healthy brain tissue), and erased that, then wouldn't remember it, so would have aimed at another parasite, and so on and so on until logically all the parasites would have been erased after a single treatment. Of course, if there were no parasites in the first place, Phlox wouldn't bother developing a treatment and so all the parasites would re-materialize...
    • It could be that the time quake hadn't fully caught up with them. Daniels, the future agent, said changes in Archer's time take time before they catch up to the 31st century.

    Did the Xindi Ship Time-Travel? 
  • Storm Front. So the Xindi Aquatics deliver Enterprise back to Earth in one of their huge ships, but it turns out that the Enterprise actually arrives during WWII instead of the 22nd century. But at no point during the episode is the Aquatic ship mentioned again— did it also travel in the past? Couldn't Enterprise just have radioed them up and said, "uh, hey guys, this isn't right..."? Did the Aquatic ship simply disappear (from Enterprise's sensors) after Enterprise left its cargo hold, and if so why didn't anybody on Enterprise mention it? Did the writers simply forget that Enterprise was travelling with another ship?
    • Enterprise didn't go back in time until the Xindi weapon exploded, some time after she exited the Aquatic ship.

    Why Send Archer? 
  • Storm Front. On a previous episode, the time traveler urged Archer not to go on a dangerous mission. He said that the Federation wouldn't begin without Archer, and so if he died, history would be badly damaged. Given that, why did he send the Enterprise back in time to fight the Nazi aliens? He couldn't find anyone else in all of history to send?

    Decon Gel Doesn't Gel 
  • The infamous Decontamination Gel. I realize the real world reason why the stuff exists but I honestly don't understand how it is meant to work. It is meant to be rubbed all over the body but they not only completely avoid the breasts and genitals but actually wear their underwear throughout. Isn't that a massive health hazard to both the person in question and to the rest of the crew to leave untreated parts of the body that could house all kinds of harmful bacteria or viruses? In order for it to work as presented you would need to be completely naked and realistically all it would have taken from a production point of view is creative aiming with the camera (plenty of other family rated shows have been able to successfully replicate implied nudity). Secondly the individual crew members have no means of applying the gel to their backs requiring someone else to rub it on for them. Doesn't that therefore mean you are completely stuffed if you are the only one that needs decontaminating? A Decontamination Shower would have solved every single problem above and would arguably have been more erotic given how that was the general intention the producers were going for.
    • Great point. Bacteria love to hang out on clothing (health organizations now recommend that physicians not wear ties or lab coats for this reason) and unless the uniforms and underwear are receiving some sort of off-screen treatment wearing their underwear defeats the purpose of de-con. Showers would be easier, faster, more sanitary, and far more dignified and private. How many lawsuits do you think Starfleet had to go through before they realized that last part?
    • Well, they did have UV lights on while they were smearing each other, so that probably decontaminated the clothing. The only thing I can think of for why they didn't use a shower or other similar device is that the Enterprise left Earth 3 weeks early. Maybe that equipment hadn't been installed yet?
    • Fanservice, pure and simple. Having crew members slather lube onto each other's bodies was supposed to add some sex appeal to the notoriously chaste later Trek series. After all, the gel itself is pointless. The crew is just as likely to have picked up a contagion via an airborne vector and by the time they return to Enterprise it is circulating around inside their bodies! Plus, as already noted, all clothing should be removed and decontaminated, not just outer garments. As we see in "Observer Effect", Trip and Hoshi were already riddled with an incurable (by any means Phlox knew of) virus before their shuttle had even returned to the ship after their dumpster-diving expedition to the planet below.
    • Broadcast Standards and Practices trumps both fanservice and realism any day of the week.
    • Uh... if it's fanservice then why did Archer rub it on Porthos?
      • The writers were just as clueless regarding fanservice as they were about every other aspect of good television?

    I Hate Temporal Mechanics 
  • In "Carpenter Street", this exchange takes place:
    Daniels: Yes, they are [happening], but the outcome hasn't reached us yet. It takes a while for changes to ripple through the time line.
    Archer: You said I'm supposed to play some crucial part in history. Does this have something to do with it?
    Daniels: I wish I could say that it does, but I don't know. I told you, none of this was supposed to happen.
    • Now aside from this being a particularly ridiculous and unjustified Delayed Ripple Effect (if 900 years isn't enough time for it to ripple, then what is?), why didn't Daniels just wait till they *did* ripple to his time in order to come back to Archer's time and explain things to him. He'd have a lot more information then.
      • Ignoring the obvious flaws with that exchange and focusing on the question alone.. perhaps he wasn't willing to risk the ripple reaching and removing them, thus making it impossible to go back?

    Why are Orions Immune to Their Own Kind? 
  • In "Bound" Doctor Phlox theorizes that the pheromones of Orion females attracting men and repelling other women evolved as a method to compete for mates. If that were the case, shouldn't the effect be strongest among the Orion women themselves? Yet they never show the slightest sign of discomfort about being in close vicinity to each other. Well, "Dear Doctor" already established that Phlox has a poor understanding of how evolution works.
    • The whole episode was an Ass Pull from start to finish: Why doesn't the Orion woman on the bridge of the Mirror NX-01 affect them? or the Orion woman that Pine!Kirk beds in Star Trek 2009 affect Uhura? or if it's such a problem why the Orion men haven't worked out a defense against this chemical reaction in the last tens of thousands of years? This episode deserves to be relegated to the status of Spock's Brain.
      • I wouldn't call it that bad. I appreciate the intent to flesh out the Orions, and turning the Orion slave women into sleeper agents instead of being just Ms. Fanservice is an interesting concept. The episode probably would've been better off having them sabotage the Enterprise just through plain old Magnificent Bastard machinations instead of what amounts to mind control powers. Good concept and noble intentions, poor execution, which is far too often the case with fourth season episodes here.
      • Actually the whole Orion women are secretly in charge thing is not new, there's a hint in the video game Starfleet Command 1. If you demand an Orion raider surrender they sometimes say "I would but my wife .... I mean cartel boss would kill me"
    • Producing the pheromones is probably a conscious effort, which is why Orion women are able to serve in Starfleet in the 2009 film. They just sign an agreement to never use the pheromones as long as they're a Starfleet officer and/or in Federation space. That may also explain their presence in the Mirror Universe (of course I wouldn't put it past the Mirror Universe to have "spayed" them somehow to prevent them from ever using that ability). As for why the 3 Orion women didn't feel the effects themselves, remember that while the pheromones would give a selective advantage to the individual by making her rivals listless and irritable, it would also be a selective advantage to resist those effects. Think of it as an evolutionary arms race. They probably don't even need to use a lot of pheromones to manipulate the human crew who has no immunity to it, and the low doses may not be enough to bother the 3 Orions.
      • That, or Gaila has been demusked like a ferret.

    Phlox Spilling the Beans 
  • Does Phlox not know what patient-doctor confidentiality is? He happily lets Hoshi see Reed's medical information just to help figure out his favourite food! In "Bound" she comes in complaining headache, and he mentions by name another crew member who was just in with the same symptoms. From a real-world point of view, the latter example would have worked just as well if Phlox had simply said there have been other similar cases without mentioning names. I can understand that on a vessel like the Enterprise he should stay watchful for any potential epidemics, but until that seems likely, give people some privacy!
    • This could be a previously unmentioned aspect of Denobulan culture. With their overcrowded society engaged in institutionalized polygamy, there would be a lot less privacy expectation amongst them. Phlox, despite his good intentions, has shown that he is more than willing to follow Denobulan practices (like keeping a zoo in Sickbay) rather the the practices of his human shipmates.
    • Military personnel do not enjoy the same doctor-patient confidentiality that civilians do. That said, showing Lieutenant Reed's records to Ensign Sato still seems pretty questionable. Also, it really isn't unreasonable to expect a foreign physician—even if he is a civilian—to understand and follow the local laws and ethics before he practices medicine; especially if he's going to be chief surgeon on your flagship.
    • An Ensign under orders from the Captain to get the information. Phlox most likely made this exception based on the circumstances and his own recognition that Reed needed a morale boost (since Reed came in for shots on a regular basis, Phlox would see quite often whenever Reed was depressed/bothered).
      • Good point, I forgot that she was working for the captain.

    She's a Com Officer, Not a Scientist! 
  • This is an incredibly trivial question, but why does Ensign Sato wear a science division blue uniform? Uhura, who held the same position as Sato, always wore Security/Operations red (Except for an early episode in which she wore command gold).
    • Nothing, as far as I know, is explicitly said, but Enterprise takes place while the universal translator is much less developed and the linguist role of the comm officer is much more important, so it may be that the position of comm officer in the 2150s were classified as part of Science (putting more emphasis on linguistics), while by the 2260s it had been switched to Operations (putting more emphasis on the technical parts of handling communications) due to the slightly changed role of the position.

    It Goggles The Mind 
  • What happened to the Starfleet night vision goggles seen in Rogue Planet? at least all of the five hundred or so revolutionary alien technologies that the Federation has forgotten about over the years have the excuse that maybe they couldn't adapt or reproduce it for example; but this is their own equipment carried on board their own ship. Seriously why even consider using a flashlight ever again?
    • Well by the time TNG rolls around they are doing stuff as much for the experience as they are actual science. If there is a problem then they expect their nigh-on-godlike tech to allow them to asspull something. Like today people will go mountaineering in jeans, T-shirt, and sneakers because they know cellphones and mountain rescue helicopters will pick them up if there is any problem, so they end up taking risks that would seem insane to explorers and mountaineers even fifty years ago. Just like those fools halfway up a mountain in t-shirt and mini-skirt, sometimes this goes phenomenally wrong and the cellphone/tricorder doesn't work and people die. It still doesn't stop people taking that risk for the "fun" of doing it.

    Fake Fighting, Real Weapons 
  • In Fight or Flight, Enterprise is live-firing torpedos to calibrate their targeting systems. One of the torpedos grazes its target, and veers off course back toward Enterprise, threatening to damage or destroy the ship. Is there any reason that they would need to be using armed warheads for target practice? Wouldn't inert payloads serve their purposes just as well and eliminate most of the risk?

    Xindi and Tech 
  • Xindi subspace portals. They were able to travel from Azati Prime to Earth in just a few hours. It took Enterprise seven weeks to get from Earth to just the outer edge of the Delphic Expanse at their maximum speed of warp 5. The Xindi are said to have joined the Federation at some point. Unless this point was after all of the events of all of the Star Trek series through Next Generation/Deep Space Nine/Voyager (and given that the Federation was founded during Archer's lifetime, it seems odd that it would take several hundred more years before the Xindi would join, since they were on fairly good terms by the time the superweapon was destroyed), then why does the Federation not have access to this technology? Even if, for some reason, the Xindi didn't willingly share it with them, Starfleet still knew of its existence and had scans of it in use, so why wouldn't they have been able to replicate it somehow? While this isn't as egregiously bad as the new Star Trek movies introducing transporters that can beam directly from Earth to Qo'noS in the blink of an eye, it's still pretty bad.
    • Possibly Enterprise-era warp 5 is really slow, and the Expanse is not actually that far from Earth. That way, it's possible that, by the time the Xindi joined the Federation, warp technology had surpassed Xindi portal technology and rendered it obsolete. I think we're supposed to assume that A: the Vulcans were holding out on the good technology big-time, and that B: when the Federation is finally up and running, this will not be the case. So we can imagine that, not long after the Enterprise-era, Federation starships will suddenly be far more advanced and far faster.
    • Maybe that technology has something to do with the Spheres, so when they were destroyed the tech stopped working?
      • That theory doesn't hold up because right after destroying the Spheres, Enterprise hitched a ride with a Xindi-Aquatic ship and got back to Earth in less than a day.
    • I have two possible reasons for the loss of that technology. The first is that the Xindi went at war with each other (they don't have a common goal anymore, plus the Reptilians have caused a political mess and their great allies have just been discredited. I can see the Reptilians launch an attack on the others while the other Xindi races are embroiled in a civil war between those who have seen the Sphere Builders for what they are and those who don't believe it), and the subspace portal technology was one of the casualties. The other is that they intervened in the Earth-Romulan War, resulting in the Romulans shifting priorities from Earth, Vulcan, Andoria and Tellar to the guys known to have built a planet killer, resulting in the Xindi getting bombed back into stone age by the Romulans while Earth and their allies rebuilt their fleets and managed to defeat the now weakened enemy.
    • Or maybe some other severe liability of the portal technology was discovered later on, that forced everyone to abandon that method of travel. Subtle but cumulative genetic damage to portal-users, instabilities in subspace where such a portal has been opened, an indispensable resource for building them that's run out, scary monsters lurking in the vortex ... many options there.
    • Also, the warp scale was rejiggered between TOS and Next Gen, making Warp 10 "infinite speed." presumably Enterprise uses the TOS scale, so their "Warp 5" engine is really pulling something like Warp 3 on the TNG scale.

    Time Travel Technology Trouble 
  • Daniels explains that "Future Guy" can only project his image through time while Daniels can move through time physically because he is from further ahead in the future and thus has more advanced time travel technology. How does this make any sense when even Kirk & company managed to travel through time physically several times without the use of outside technology, not to mention many other sources of time travel which predate the Federation?
    • Probably because it's the difference between doing so in a way that is obvious and a way that is stealthy. Remember, at the end of that arc, it was a big deal that the Big Bad had a time travel device that allowed him to physically travel back in time without being caught in the act. Pulling a sun slingshot or some other deal would work, but they'd know and stop him pretty much on the spot.
    • It may also be that different time-travel methods have different answers to what any changes do — for instance, the sun slingshot method was implied to work under stable time loop rules, which obviously is completely worthless if you want to actually change the past. Put that together with the above limitation and it seems reasonable that "Future Guy" may well be able to physically travel to the past, but not in any way that actually helps him achieve his goals.
    • Don't the other methods of time travel have issues in that you can't really control where or when you end up? I think that's mainly what Daniels is trying to say: targeting a specific ship in the expanse of space is not easy to do without the proper equipment, and you can't just go careening around a star and hope for the best.

    Sphere Builders vs. Godlike Aliens 
  • Why were the Sphere Builders even a threat to the galaxy at all? Over the course of the various Trek series we have seen that the Milky Way is packed to the rafters with Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, some of whom possess absolutely insane powers. In order for the Sphere Builders to become a purely Federation problem, all of these godlike beings would need to step back and play the All-Powerful Bystander trope. Except that so many of them have been depicted as being willing to meddle in the affairs of lesser races when the mood strikes them, that it seems unlikely that none of them would step up to smack the Sphere Builders back into their own dimension rather than have them redecorate the entire galaxy without the consent of the godlike species.
    • How far had the Sphere Builders expanded by then? Sure, they were a threat, but if they were also contained to a specific area then all those god-like races might have thought the Federation had it in hand.
    • A fair number of SAA's live in or near Federation space (e.g. Metrons, Organians). In keeping with the principle that Starfleet personnel are the only beings worth toying with, they all seem to have kept their collective heads (those that have heads) well down when the Sphere Builders started to become a problem. Q (or worse, his son) would have probably thought the spheres made the galaxy into a lovely pool table and would have knocked them around at will. But presumably they were off meddling in somebody else's timeline.

    Smelly Sexual Dimorphism 
  • How have female Vulcans evolved noses that are so sensitive in comparison to the males that T'Pol is incapable of being around humans and dogs without a specialist analgesic for her nose, whereas Spock and Tuvok can spend their entire lives around humans and not have it brought up once? And let's be honest: we all know that Bones would have brought that up at some point. Evolution is not some random, unknowable process; it happens in response to external stimuli over thousands to millions of years in order to help adapt a species to its environment. Which in this case is something that the males don't need or wouldn't use but would be beneficial for life on their desert planet. Funnily enough, if Enterprise hadn't retconned Pon Farr as being something that only males experience for no reason other than fanservice, we could have said that the males release some kind of pheromones like a dog in heat which would be a plausible plot development.
    • T'Pol is basically the first Vulcan to have prolonged contact with humans on their own terms, so her issues with adapting are more pronounced. After two additional centuries of contact, integration, and even interbreeding, the species as a whole has likely gotten used to the smell, or specific Vulcans that have an unusually high amount of contact with humans treat the workarounds to the smell as routinely as we do showering or brushing one's teeth.
    • What I'd like to know is, given that as Ms. Fanservice T'Pol was likely to be paired with, or at least have UST with, at least one of the human characters, why the hell did the Powers That Be introduce the whole Humans Are Smelly thing in the first place? It's In-Universe Fan Disservice!
      • The writers were just awful with anything meant to be sexy. Almost all their attempts at sexiness derive from a delousing room where the characters rub topical cream on themselves to protect against parasites. Their big romance originated from sleep therapy for someone suffering from PTSD due to crippling grief. So following their usual logic, it makes sense that their sexy character would have an inherent, visible revulsion to her potential romantic interests.
      • In fairness to the writers on this one, human women do have a stronger sense of smell than human men. It's estimated that the female brain has 50% more olfactory cells than the male brain. That still doesn't resolve the issue of why they had to bring up her complaining about the smell though.
    • Simple answer to this one: it's Fantastic Racism again. What's one of the most frequent insults against any nation or ethnic group by another? For that matter, by one person against another? They stink. They smell different, and different = bad. There's a sort of basis to this in that diet can produce a different odor in a person's sweat; Westerners with bland, meat-heavy diets stink in the perception of some Asians who eat spicy mostly-vegetarian diets, and vice versa. It was also a persistent racist stereotype of basically any non-white group that they smelled bad, their cooking stinks, etc. It's not surprising that they chose to have a Vulcan express distaste this way, or that it would lessen as she got to know and like humans.

    Leaving the Box Out 
  • Unexpected has many problems and many Unfortunate Implications. Leaving those aside however, I have to ask as to why in-universe the Xyrillians even have an Impregnation Box in the first place and why is it so powerful that it is capable of impregnating aliens with biology radically different to their own and mutating said bodies in order to accept the fetus? It certainly seems far to powerful too be a conventional pregnancy aid, and it damn well did more than just grow a nipple on Trip's arm considering that his immune system wasn't rejecting the child. I honestly do hate to go down the date rape course like so many others, but such a device cannot be easily explained away.
    • Maybe the transfer happens far less often with Xyrillians than with humans.

    Xyrillian Breasts 
  • If the male Xyrillians are the ones that get pregnant and give birth, why do their females still have breasts? What purpose do they serve? It's like that one episode of Voyager where Tom was accused of killing that scientists guy and all the aliens had stupid headpieces because they're supposed to be related to birds... but the women have breasts because as we all know, birds use their nipples to feed their young with milk...
    • The breasts might be vestigial in both cases.
      • Or in the case of the Baneans (from Voyager), who seem to be otherwise mammalian in appearance, it may be the feathers that are vestigial, or at the very least insulate their heads from extreme temperatures, though interestingly enough, they have human-like hair on their heads in addition to the feathers.
    • You're being too Terran-centric, both in assuming they're mammaries (and not, say, more analogous to a camel's humps), and that they'd thus only be seen with features (such as a womb) that they would be on Earth. Assuming they are mammaries (or, rather mammary-equivalent), then it could be a matter of sharing responsibility - the males gestate, the females feed after birth.

    British Eagle Scouts 
  • How in the world did the British Malcolm Reed get to be an Eagle Scout, which rank doesn't exist in British Scouting?
    • They revised the ranks after WWIII...
    • Reed's a military brat. Maybe his family spent some time stationed in the States?

    The Malik Mystery 
  • At the end of "The Augments", Malik, the leader of the Augments, is on the bridge of the Klingon Bird of Prey as it's destroyed. We last see him there, badly wounded and barely standing, about two seconds before the ship explodes. But then we cut Soong and Archer aboard the Enterprise, and somehow Malik is now there, in fine condition. He attempts to kill Soong, before Archer shoots him. Even if disregard Malik's miraculous healing (the Augments are know to heal fast, but not that fast), how the hell did he get aboard the Enterprise? When he's last shown aboard the Bird of Prey, he's nowhere near a transporter, so are we to believe he somehow ran to one and energised it in a couple of seconds? And how come the Enterprise's internal sensors didn't notice a foreign person beaming aboard?
    • Malik probably used a site-to-site transport, teleporting from the bridge to the Enterprise just before the destruction of his ship. It's worth noting that the NX-01 is far less sophisticated than its Original Series/TNG counterparts. Since it has no shields, it can't prevent anyone from beaming onto the ship (or off it, for that matter). I've also never seen any ability to detect unauthorized beaming onto the ship demonstrated in the show, which would seem to indicate that this is a limitation of the NX-01 unless it's shown otherwise. Hence, it's possible that Malik could have beamed aboard the Enterprise. He did say "I'll see you soon".

    Sapient Holograms? 
  • Oasis. Ezral states that the holograms of the crew that he created could "make you laugh, surprise you". That implies they are fully sapient, since they can do the unexpected (the essence of humor). Don't they deserve a say in what happens to them?
    • There is a great leap between intelligent and sapient though. There are today in the real world computer programs that can mimic human speech and act spontaneously; they can tell jokes, tell stories, play games, sing etc. seemingly without being prompted by the user at all, but all they are in fact doing is systematically following a few million lines of code. I see no evidence that Star Trek holograms with the exception of the Doctor, Vic Fontaine and Moriarty are not doing the same thing just on a larger scale. Or to put it another way, they are essentially videogame NPCs, programmed to fulfill a set role and react according to that role to whatever input they receive rather than using any kind of free thought.

    Lethal Knives, Non-Lethal Phasers 
  • In Borderland, the "augments" seem mostly immune to phaser fire from the Star Fleet security forces. It barely slows them down when they get hit. Yet earlier in the episode, we see one of them getting stabbed to death with a knife. So knives work just fine on them, but phasers don't? You'd think Phasers would work fine on people who can die by edged weapons.
    • Different kinds of damage. A phaser on stun does something to the nervous system to disorient or render a person unconscious, which Augments are resistant to because of competing technobabble. But a physical wound to a major organ will kill, even if an enhanced physiology can help the wound close faster, because a vital organ just isn't running anymore. Depending on exactly how Augment physiology is hightened, bleeding wounds may be more dangerous for them, if they have a higher metabolism, heart rate, and blood pressure, then they'd bleed out faster. Now, if it's a phaser set to kill, instead of stun, that's a whole different story, since it's disrupting the cohesion of a person's molecules.
      • Indeed. It's like using a magnetic field to repel any bullets - assuming it works great, once the enemy switches to something that can't be magnetised then you're So L and have to come up with another solution.

    How to Spell Phlox 
  • What is with the way Phlox is spelt? Shouldn't it be Flox? I know there's words that are spelled with a ph, but that's usually because English is trying to preserve the spelling of Greek where they got it from. Do the Denobulans also use Greek as their writing system?
    • It's probably an idiosyncrasy of the translation of Phlox's language into English. Possibly "f" and "ph" are assigned different functions for, say, consonant sounds or meanings that don't have English analogues.
    • I know two members of the same family with an Arabic surname. In one case, the name ends with an "i" and in the other it's a "y," just because individual immigrations officers transliterated it differently. Heck, think of all the different spellings on record for Muammar Gaddafi's name! The fact of one spelling for "Phlox" and not another is probably pretty arbitrary.
    • There is a slight pronunciation difference between "F" and "Ph" with an "F" giving a harder, shorter, sound than the slightly softer and more drawn out "Ph" which also bounces some of the stress onto the "l" too. I would imagine that whomever handles the linguistics for transliterating languages into English would be sensitive to that difference.

    Waiting for a Century 
  • Are we really supposed to believe that the Humans willingly let the Vulcans stagnate their technological development for over 100 years? Granted they were desperate for allies and the Vulcans are (mostly) benevolent, but what exactly stopped Humanity from simply trading for a more advanced Warp Drives from another race? Does this mean that the Vulcans confiscated the vessels of anyone who tried? Surely this would have caused Humanity to tell them to go screw themselves and cut off all ties?
    • Enterprise appears to suggest that before the the Enterprise expedition, humanity's knowledge of what is out there is quite... limited, to say the least (even the Tellarites, who appear to be one of the local relative Great Powers, are unfamiliar to the non-T'Pol Enterprise crew as of season 2). Before you trade for a more advanced warp drive, you need to find someone willing (and able) to sell you a more advanced warp drive, after all.
    • That being said, we know that Humanity's reach was at least 90 lights years prior to 2151, with Draylax and Vega Colony being some of the furthest locations explored, even before the Warp 2 Barrier was broken in 2143 note . Furthermore, we know that Humanity was in contact with both the Draylaxians and the Denobulans before the launch of Enterprise and possibly a few other races. Unless they all were still limited to Warp 1 and 2, it seems strange that there wasn't at least one enterprising alien businessman willing to flog human explorers a better engine?
    • But what would humanity have to trade with? Seriously, we're a backwater hick planet with crappy everything. We probably had nothing worth the trader's time.
      • While Earth is still a backwater, it appears quite wealthy and prosperous as of 2151, enough to end world hunger, disease and poverty. The Earth Cargo Service runs freight to various worlds, so clearly it's not like Earth doesn't have stuff other races aren't interested in? We even see Archer trade supplies for a bunch of kitchen spices in one episode! Taking two ships and selling one, even if for scrap metal and spare parts would earn more than enough for some better kit. Even the Ferengi figured this out and they were too stupid to invent warp themselves!
      • Most likely political/economic threats from the Vulcans. The Vulcans are shown to be an important player in the Alpha Quadrant, so much so that the Klingons are willing to not send a squadron of warbirds to raze Earth after speaking with them. They most likely exerted their influence to prevent other races from trading with Earth, something along the lines of "If you sell the humans technology that we say they can't have, we'll boycott/blockade your world," or, even worse in cases like the Andorians who the Vulcans don't have amicable relations with, the threat of a shooting war should they interfere. And the Humans, lacking in technology as they were, would be incapable of telling the Vulcans off. "You want us to leave? That's cute. Now, about this warp engine you want to build..."
    • However, many of the races that the Enterprise encountered in its mission only had ships that were capable of traveling at about warp 2. If that wasn't true, then why would other planets trade with Earth using its warp 2 freighters? Many of the ships that were able to match its speed were from hostile or unknown species that humanity was unable to trade with. With that in mind, trade with other species and decades of practical experience in space no doubt sped up humanity's progress in general. Humanity was able to break the warp 2 barrier only 80 years after they built their first warp drive, while it took the Vulcans centuries to do the same. If this applies to other species as well, then it is no wonder that humanity didn't trade for better warp technology, they were already on their way to having some of the best warp engines in local space.
    • The definition of "stagnation" is very subjective here. From most species' perspective, humanity was advancing very rapidly. It was only humans (e.g. Archer) who were chomping at the bit and feeling like they were being "held back". These aren't the idealistic utopians of later Trek eras, they're people for whom World War III was recent history, and Earth had been divided into nations that were doubtless in a constant arms race. So as they began to encounter other species, the first thing that sprang to their mind was the urgent need to achieve technological parity with them, just as the nations had used to do. The Vulcans were "allies" who refused to share their advanced technology. In the days before United Earth (and in real life), that kind of relationship between nations carried the connotation of it being less of an "alliance" and more of a dominate-subordinate relationship.
    • Honestly, the impression is that the Vulcans stagnated Earth not as in "actively supress any technological progress" but "kept quiet on how all of their advanced tech works", which is several levels lower on the annoy-somebody scale. It's not that different from the Prime Directive which Earth / the Federation later establishes, but nobody likes constantly being told "you're not old enough".
    • Yes, you were really supposed to believe the absurd notion humans would allow Vulcans to stagnate their technology for a century. Humans in neither Kirk's nor even Picard's time would have accepted this and certainly humans closer to our time wouldn't.
    • Earth didn't stagnate. It was a mess, slipping backwards into a post apocalyptic, almost 1950s, hellhole, when the Vulcans arrived. TNG's pilot episode even established that some of the worst practices of the post-apocalypse happened even after First Contact according to Q's timeline, so the Vulcans helped with a lot of rebuilding and restoring of the environment as well as the social infrastructure to get to the point where things looked pretty good. And Earth still developed space travel as well as scientific endeavours during that period. None of that would be possible with only what the society Cochrane was living in was capable of. The accusation is less they let us stagnate, but more the Vulcans did not advance Earth as quickly as Archer would have liked.

    Malcolm Reed's Cold 
  • Couldn't they cure Malcolm Reed's cold by putting him in decon?
    • No. The common cold was not cured until some time between TOS's "The Light's of Zetar" and TNG's The Battle, more than a century later, accoriding to Memory Alpha. Apparently it was a particularly resistant-to-treatment condition.
    Cargo ships seem too slow to be realistic 
  • The cargo ships we see on the show like the one Travis grew up on from the Earth Cargo Service seem way to slow to be practical. Travis mentions cargo runs going for 3-5 years just to make it to their destinations, and that doesn't count the return trip that would take just as long. Are we to believe that some planet or colony places an order for some goods or materials but then expect them to wait three years to get their order? How can you predict what your needs will be three or five years from now?
    • That is pretty much on par with the travel times from England to Australia and New Zealand during the time of Wooden Ships and Iron Men, when England was setting up colonies there. You just have to be careful with your planning and lucky with your guesses.


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