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Headscratchers / Star Trek: Generations

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    During saucer separation, why are Sickbay/civilians/etc evacuated? 
  • It’s pretty hard to believe Sickbay is located in the star drive section, and impossible to believe all these families and kids are.
    • In part, the cuts to Sickbay were probably a way to cut to Crusher in the midst of all this, considering how otherwise isolated she is from the rest of the action, but, in universe, it's probably an element of "get these people to crash positions" - it's not just that they're evacuating to the saucer, but, considering the brief window they had between evac and core breach, it was probably expected that the saucer would run the risk of getting knocked out of orbit, so rather than remain in there, the idea is to move in towards the center of the ship, where they'd be more secure than on the outer edges.
    • It's worth noting that Enterprise canonically has two fully equipped sickbays — one in the saucer section, and another in the stardrive section. The stardeive's sickbay is (probably) never seen on-screen in the series, but it's referenced in "The Arsenal of Freedom." note  That much, at least, makes sense — the two sections are designed to operate independently of each other for extended periods of time; they would need medical facilities in both. It's probably also pretty helpful when Enterprise responds to mass-casualty situations, which we've seen happen more than once.
    Why Didn't They Wait Until Tuesday? 
  • So why didn't they delay the Enterprise-B launch until Tuesday, when it would actually be ready?
    • Tradition? Every ship named Enterprise up to that point had left dry dock at least once before it was ready (ENT: Broken Bow, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier). In all seriousness, though, what kind of negligent, criminally irresponsible organization decided it would be a good idea to launch Enterprise without at least one medic on board? Say what you will about Admiral Cartwright, but at least he kept shit running.
      • This is actually pretty common in real life, with ships being launched at times as little more than an empty shell. Their main systems are then installed during the fitting out phase, and then there would be a period of shakedown cruises before it's commissioned and put into service. A better question would be why were there no other starships at all around Earth?
      • Maybe Starfleet's attitude is "Starships are meant to explore space. It's a waste of resources to have them hanging around Earth."
    • Maybe that was the only time Kirk and the other VIPs would be available for the christening. As they approached their deadline they realized they wouldn't have everything ready, but enough for a quick trip, and so they went ahead with the launch rather than give up on having Kirk aboard. Still rather negligent.
    • It's also pretty clearly a press run - Harriman specifies that they're going not much further than Pluto and then back to spacedock. This is NOT a proper shakedown, it's just something done for the sake of the press or something. The Enterprise-E is said to have spent a full YEAR in shakedown status (though that length could have just been because it was one of the first active duty vessels of her class, unlike the Excelsior-class Enterprise-B), while this was a jaunt around the solar system and back to dock. It could be that there was some event or another that got Starfleet thinking 'hey, we've got a new Enterprise near completion, wouldn't it be neat to do some kind of celebratory press circuit or some such?' The Enterprise was engaged in what Harriman called 'a quick run around the block,' which means they were remaining close to major Starfleet installations - it's canon that there are Federation facilities at least out to Saturn's moons, so, given that it's humanity's star system, reaching out to Neptune or even Pluto and other objects in the Kuiper Belt with facilities is not out of the question. Under normal circumstances, if there were any injuries, if they weren't instantly fatal, they could probably make a quick pull over to one of them without much difficulty. Given the short trip they were expecting, it wasn't likely they would encounter anything too terribly dangerous, that they weren't expecting to engage in anything that would result in injuries a standard medkit couldn't handle.
      • The Enterprise-E is said to have spent a full YEAR in shakedown status (though that length could have just been because it was one of the first active duty vessels of her class, unlike the Excelsior-class Enterprise-B) How do we know the Enterprise-B wasn't one of the first Excelsior-class ships? Indeed, the Enterprise-B is an Excelsior variant (with extra impulse engines, modified warp nacelles, secondary hull extensions, different deflector dish etc), one that we have never seen before (and only once since, that being the Lakota from DS9), so there must be something significantly different about her compared to the Excelsior and all the other standard configuration Excelsior-class ships we see.
      • We know she's not one of the first Excelsior-class ships precisely because she's a variant. Variants are put together in response to needs in the field. We also know the Excelsior was launched in 2285 and the Enterprise wasn't launched until 2293.

    Nexus Problems 
  • The Nexus introduces a plethora of logic problems:
    • Why didn't Picard go further back in time to when Soran first arrived, so he could stop the whole thing?
      • Presumably he didn't want to introduce new problems into the time stream by going too far back, so he picked a time only a few minutes before his entry into the Nexus.
      • And there actually is an explanation for Picard not trying to prevent the loss of Enterprise: he isn't actually aware it crashed until after he gets out of the Nexus. (This is best shown in a deleted scene where Geordi and Worf go to pick him up in a shuttle and Picard asks where the hell they've all been and if there was trouble with the Klingons.)
    • You can still see it in the film itself if you look closely. Picard looks at the probe as it launches with baited breath, and doesn't look defeated until it hits, as if he was waiting to see if Enterprise would shoot it down, and when Nexus and Shockwave approaches Picard looks around confused, as if he's wondering why Enterprise isn't beaming him back to warp out of the area. And he later asks Guinian why she isn't on the Enterprise safe and sound when she'd actually been blown up with it at that point. This still doesn't explain why he doesn't go back to when he met Soran and arrest him immediately though.
    • Where did the original Picard go when his future counterpart came out of the Nexus?
      • Maybe the Nexus also adjusts the time line when it inserts someone where they weren't before, so the original Picard was removed from the time stream (into the Nexus?) when his future self appeared in the same time and place.
      • Pretty much this. This, of course, could explain why there are Nexus echoes.
  • Picard could have exited the nexus at any time and in any place, right? So why didn't he ask to be put back on the Enterprise before he let Soren return to the station and put Soren in the brig, or go back even farther and save his nephew from dying in a fire? (I think I might have missed something about where he could exit the Nexus, so correct me if I am wrong.)
    • You're not. It's expressly stated that he can go to ANYWHERE and ANYTIME he wants.
    • Perhaps he wanted to bend the Temporal Prime Directive as little as possible, so he went back to the latest point possible that had the opportunity for success.
      • NO. Picard could not go to a place where he already existed, just as Guinan couldn't help Picard out. ("I'm there already, remember?")
      • Guinan couldn't help Picard out because her in the Nexus wasn't real—it was an echo of her from when she had been in it. Picard does go to a place, and time, where he already exists.
      • He probably wanted to just return to the point he'd just failed at and try from there with back up. Going back to when he first met Soran would be both confusing to everyone (how does he explain to everyone why Soran is evil without sounding crazy about the Nexus stuff), and would risk unexpected complications like the Duras sisters and Soran's missiles lying around for other potential problems. Since at this point Picard isn't aware the Enterprise had been totaled and subsequently destroyed by the shockwave (he says Guinan's on the Enterprise when he sees her, so he presumably figures they warped out of the system) he doesn't factor undoing that into his plan.
      • By going back to the point he did, Picard knew that failure would result in the Nexus picking him up again, providing a limited form of Save Scumming.

    Just Use a Ship - It Worked Before 
  • The first time Soran got to the Nexus he was on a ship. Why couldn't he do it again?
    • That ship also blew up. Approaching the ribbon in a ship is dangerous, and since there's no guarantee that Soran would get into the Nexus before his ship blew up he decided to use a planet instead.
    • Actually, he could still use a ship. He could charter one to take him to where the ribbon will be in an hour or so and beam himself out into space in an EV suit so that the ribbon can pick him up without endangering anyone.
    • Except himself, which is kind of the point for Soran. If a ship has a chance of blowing up before you can get into the Nexus, then using a suit is obviously even more dangerous. A planet is much safer, if you don't care about what happens to everyone else on it after you're gone into the Nexus.
    • The danger presented by the Nexus absolutely fails show don't tell. He gets in the first time whilst in a primitive El-Aurian refugee ship that survived long enough for the Enterprise to receive the distress call, long enough for it to get there, and long enough to figure out a way to beam some of them out; a period of time that must have been a good solid few minutes at least. The film wants us to believe a certain thing is true (that you can't fly your ship into it) whilst wanting us to believe that he did so the first time perfectly fine. And as we see with Kirk, the Nexus lightning that is taking chunks out of these ships is actually completely harmless. Yes it destroyed a good chunk of the Enterprise-B's secondary hull, but Kirk was transported into the Nexus without any injury whatsoever despite standing at ground zero. For all we know from this visual evidence, everyone blown up that day in a similar manner made it.
    • Soran's been studying the Nexus ever since he left it - close to 80 years. The fact that he's willing to sacrifice a populated planet to get back in would indicate that getting into the Nexus before your ship blows up is no sure thing, regardless of what's shown on screen. Kirk of course has Plot Armor, at least until the bridge falls on him.
    • The biggest fridge logic is that it seems to be perfectly reasonable to fly a ship into the Nexus and be absorbed; this is what happened to Kirk. Soran could just buy his own ship and do the same, or even just asked to be dropped off in a space suit in the path of the thing. There wasn't any real need to piss off the Romulans, destroy a couple of stars and planets just to redirect the Nexus to him on a mountain top.
      • The movie does state (and show in the opening) that any ship that had approached the Nexus was either destroyed or heavily damaged. Soran was clearly obsessed with getting back to his perfect world in one piece, so attempting a move that had a high probability of him being vaporized probably wasn't something he had in mind. Still, Kirk making it through seemingly unscathed does seem to have been damn lucky. Thank goodness for Plot Armor...
      • Soran didn’t know Kirk made it safely into the nexus.
      • True, but how do we know that the passengers and crew of the destroyed SS Robert Fox (not to mention the 103 people on the Lakul that Scotty wasn't able to transport) didn't end up in the Nexus along with Kirk? (But on the other hand... who's to say they did?)
      • Probably Soran didn't want to take the risk of being destroyed before he got to the Nexus. He's a scientist, not a pilot.
      • Really the best way this makes sense is if Kirk getting there through being blown out of a starship by the energy pulses of the ribbon is not normal but something with an insane probability of success as expected of James Kirk. And that to any sane person who doesn't want to bet on a crazy long shot that it's for all intents and purposes believed that anyone trying to fly a ship into it is most certainly going to get killed by their ship exploding before they can make it into the Nexus.
    • It's almost certainly a Retcon, but Shatner actually offered a partial explanation in his expanded universe series. According to that series, not all of the El-Aurians from the transport ships did make it into the Nexus permanently. Some of them were found dead in space, having been thrown clear of the ribbon by the force of their ships exploding. Soran didn't try it with a ship because he'd be running the risk that, rather than getting into the Nexus, he'd be blown out of its path and die in open space like some of his fellow refugees had. The series isn't quite official canon, but this is a reasonable explanation for Soran's more drastic actions.
    • Soran doesn't know for a fact that anybody made it into the Nexus and stayed, and stayed alive. He could simply be hedging in case he goes in and comes right back out. The film doesn't hammer out all the technobabble, but he has been at this for decades, so it's reasonable he has worked all this out. He may have even been in and out of it again since Enterprise B.

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

    Priceless Artifact? It's Junk Now 
  • Blink and you'll miss it, but at the very end, when Picard's going through the wreckage of his ready room, he finds the top half of the Kurlan naiskos that his archaeologist mentor Galen gave him in season 6's "The Chase." He then casually puts it down and leaves it behind. Now, "The Chase" established that the artifact was absolutely priceless (beyond which, it clearly had sentimental value: he was deeply touched by the gift even at the time, and then to top it off his cherished mentor was killed only a few days later). Why would he treat it so offhandedly, let alone abandon it altogether, especially after it survived the crash intact?
    • WMG: The artifact was so valuable that he had it stored safely somewhere else (on Earth? in a museum?) and simply had a replica made for his ready room (we saw it on display in a few episodes of the series following "The Chase").
    • Good explanation above. It's also possible he only cares at this point about the family heirloom he's looking for and isn't really worried about an artifact (though it being a replica does explain it very well).
    • The ship isn't going to be left there. More than likely every scrap they can find will be pulled off the planet (so as not to influence the Veridian IV civilization when they become spacefaring. Things will be returned to their owners. Picard made finding the photo album to take with him personally a priority because of how important it is to him especially with the recent death of his family.
    • Ever consider the real artifact is in a museum and Picard owns a replica as a memento? He's an archeologist and it's very unlikely he'd hoard a priceless artifact to himself.
      • Certainly conceivable but everything in "The Chase" suggests otherwise. Consider this exchange:
        GALEN: It's yours, Jean-Luc.
        PICARD: Oh, no. No. How can I accept this?
        GALEN: Graciously, Mister Picard. You could accept it graciously.
      • It certainly sounds like it's private ownership we're speaking of. There are plenty of precious artifacts siting in private collections as we speak. Is carting around a priceless archaeological relic on a starship odd by the standards of one that routinely brings children into dangerous territories?
      • Maybe he kept the actual artifact at his home on Earth.
    • The WMG makes the most sense. With Picard's background in archeology, he peobably would have decided It Belongs in a Museum.
      • Maybe, but he also keeps a different priceless artifact from a dead civilization in his quarters: His Ressikan flute. And like the Kurlan naiskos, it may well be the last intact example in existence.
      • No reason the Ressikan flute can't also be a replica he had made of the original flute he retrieved.
  • The new series clinches that it survived and is in Picard's archives. Thinking back, Picard does handle it gently even if he sets it aside.

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

     Kirk's Unlikely Nexus Fantasy 
"Captain of the Enterprise?"
"That's right."
"Close to retirement?"
"Not planning on it."
"Let me tell you something. Don't. Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you, don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there, you can make a difference."
  • This exchange is priceless because it proves that Kirk's ultimate fantasy isn't a rural house where he manually chops wood, makes breakfast in bed and rides a horse through the forest all day... Kirk's ultimate fantasy is to step foot on the bridge of the Enterprise as a young man with a brand new five-year mission ahead of him full of all manner of green women to sleep with, new civilizations to meet, and lives to save. And even if Kirk really does dream of putting the Enterprise behind him and settling down, it certainly wouldn't be with Antonia - it would be with Carol and David Marcus. Look how raw that wound still is in Star Trek 6 - it is silly to think that his son wouldn't be alive and well in any ultimate fantasy dreamed up by him.
    • Clearly the Nexus's ability to grant ultimate fantasies is exaggerated. "Being inside joy," my eye. Heck, both Picard and Kirk leave theirs with relatively little fuss — how great can this Nexus be? Maybe it works better on El-Aurians.
      • I'd guess it has to do more with the particular personalities involved. Yes, it tries to give people what they want, but by its very design, it can't give Kirk and Picard the things that matter most to them. In Picard's case, he can never be happy in the Nexus knowing that hundreds of thousands of people are dead. As for Kirk, he can never truly enjoy a meaningless existence, and that's pretty much by definition what the Nexus offers.
    • Alternatively, the novelization shows that Kirk has bounced around from what his fantasy is since he'd arrived in the Nexus, and that something was always off for him, causing it to start over. This survives into the final film when he and Picard transition from the cabin to the farm, and Kirk realizes that the reason he was unafraid of the jump was that when he made it this time, he knew it wasn't real. He could live in a fantasy while he believed it was real life, but once he knew better, even if he didn't want to accept it, even if he had his regrets about the choices he'd made that had put him back on the bridge, he knew that his place was making that difference.
    • Kirk likely couldn’t quite accept life in the Nexus with David knowing he died. Life with a still living or recent relationship would be easier to justify.
    • Are we sure that Antonia is a real woman and not an abstract ideal one that the Nexus has conjured up from Kirk's imagination? That would also require the Nexus to give Kirk false memories of her, but that seems within its powers, no?
    • There is some precedent for the idea that Kirk's fantasy would be retiring to a simple, agrarian life (think of "The Paradise Syndrome," if you dare). Presumably if his fantasy had been captaining the Enterprise, he would have talked himself out of that on the basis that he'd rather live quietly. In other words, Kirk's conflicting impulses are what matters — the Nexus cannot satisfy all of his desires at once and is thus doomed to fail.
    • It's possible that Antonia wasn't Kirk's greatest love, but the one where he had to chance to get with without his Starfleet career getting in the way since supposedly he met her when he'd temporarily retired following his original mission. It was a crossroads in his life where things really could have been different and he does wonder especially since that was arguably the peak of his Starfleet career. Following that he returned to a few years of disatisfaction as an Admiral, the loss of his protegee Decker, being a target of Khan and the loss of Spock, then getting Spock back only to lose the Enterprise and David in exchange, being demoted in disgrace and then a few more years on a tour with the Enterprise-A until retirement which while Kirk enjoyed if Scotty's opinion in Relics was any indication wasn't nearly as breath taking as their original 5 year mission on the 1701. At the end of all that Kirk might have seriously been thinking at least for while "Man maybe I really SHOULD have just called it quits while I was ahead and got with Antonia 15 years ago"
    • Also, bear in mind that the El-Aurians were desperate, dispossessed, traumatized refugees. It's way more likely that their deepest and most satisfying fantasies were of home, comfort, safety, and togetherness than it would be for our captains.

     Is he Really Out? 
  • How does Picard know that he's not still in the Nexus at the end of the film? His ultimate desire was stopping Soran, and then going on to continue to have adventures as Captain of the Enterprise, and that's exactly what happened in this and the following movies. How does he know the Nexus isn't just giving him what he really wanted all along?
    • Well, he doesn't.
    • The crash of the Enterprise is a good indication, as is Kirk's death. Not to mention, the events of First Contact and Nemesis are a pretty big stretch even with the idea that his desire is to continue captaining the Enterprise, with all that that entails.
    • Those sorts of negative experiences are just what would be required to convince Picard that they were authentic experiences, however. If the Nexus is really giving him what he wants, it should be indistinguishable from reality, including having bad days as well as good.
    • Also the various TNG characters' appearances on DS9 and Voyager, which are not told from Picard's point of view.

     The Prisoner Exchange 
  • During the scene where they swap Picard for Geordi, where does Picard beam to? The Bird of Prey or the planet? I always assumed that he went to the Bird of Prey given how someone removes his combadge, but Picard is clearly using a Federation blue transporter beam when he appears on the planet instead of a red klingon transporter beam, implying that the Enterprise now knows exactly where on the planet Soran is. What's with the worry about where the probe is going to be launched from? Why not give Picard thirty minutes to negotiate with Soran and then send down an armed security team? It clearly takes longer than that for Geordi to return to engineering given how he finds time for a bath.
    • Perhaps the implication is that Picard was beamed down by the Bird of Prey and the blue transporter beam was just a special effects error.
    • If I recall there was originally a scene where Picard is on the Bird of Prey after the exchange, before getting beamed down to the planet. It got cut for time and story flow because it didn't really amount to much other than the sisters vamping on him a bit like they tend to.

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

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

    • It’s quite possible El-Aurians told them all they knew about the Borg, but a planet being destroyed wasn’t exactly unusual in TOS days, e.g., the Doomsday Machine. Given that El-Auria must have been pretty far from Federation space, this incident was likely filed away as some far off future concern. There would have been far more urgency to search for more of those planet eating cigars.

     Should we check the VISOR Soran was so interested In? Nah, it was probably nothing. 
  • Geordi is captured by the Duras sisters and Soran, and in Geordi's hearing Soran removes and examines his VISOR. When he is returned to the Enterprise his bugged VISOR leads directly to a "Galaxy class warship" loosing a fight with an obsolete Bird of Prey. So who was most incompetent here: Geordi for not saying "Soran was really interested in my VISOR, gee, maybe we should make sure he didn't do anything to it", Worf for not saying "Commander La Forge was a captive for some time. We should make sure they didn't plant anything on him", or Dr. Crusher for "removing the nanoprobe" from Geordi (which apparently references some scenes cut from the movie) but failing to notice the bug in his VISOR?
  • From a strategy standpoint - it's a good idea. But once you start thinking of the details, that's when it starts to become a giant idiot ball. I mean, even if Soran was so awesome that he could hide the modification from any scanners or more manual methods (i.e. visual inspection) - and let us not forget, hiding it from Geordi himself, we still got that tiny little issue of the VISOR now needs to transmit video data. So not only did they fail a spot check when giving Geordi a checkup, they paid no attention to a brand new transmission, with a source that seems to always be in the same location of Geordi. I mean, even if Soran was especially crafty, and used standard subspace to transmit the video data, the concept of portable interstellar communication is still absent - making it necessary to use stationary consoles. So that would be a pretty big red flag.
    • On that note, it's a pretty surprising oversight for a TNG film to drop the ball so hard on comparable technology that we had at the time the episode aired. Namely, the VISOR somehow transmits video data, but not audio. Soran modified the VISOR so it would not only capture data that it doesn't normally produce (remember Geordi doesn't "see" things the way we do, and not only enclosed a transmitter to transmit said data, but can't even manage to sneak in a tiny microphone, to transmit audio data as well - which requires a fraction of the bandwidth that video does. I realize the Klingons only wanted the shield frequency, but they basically had the chief engineer of the Federation's flagship bugged - the amount of intelligence that could be captured and sent to Klingon high command would be groundbreaking.
      • Fridge Brilliance: After everything that happened in the series, they no longer care in the slightest what happens to the Klingon Empire. They're out for themselves and themselves only, so anything that doesn't help them personally isn't seen as worth their time.
    • Oh yeah, one more thing. I have to question the necessity to display the shield frequency by default. While that information can be necessary, it doesn't strike me as the kind of info that the crew needs to view otherwise. Even computers in 1994 didn't display every bit of info at all times, let alone today. No wonder the Enterprise got destroyed - a crewmember can just glance at a display to see the shield frequency, but has to manipulate a display to see diagnostic information on the warp core. That's the equivalent of having your task manager at full screen on your laptop, so you can see how much memory you're using, only to have the computer go into hibernate mode, because you had the battery level, and notifications hidden.
      • That might be explained by their experience with the Borg, where the ability to quickly adjust shield harmonics, especially shield frequency, is critically important. At this point, Starfleet still considers the Borg to be the biggest threat to Federation security, and Enterprise has unexpectedly encountered the Borg on two separate occasions since Wolf 359 (in "I, Borg" and "Descent Part I"), so the engineering staff having immediate access to that information seems like a good idea.

     Only ship at Earth AGAIN? 
  • The Enterprise is the ONLY ship within range of the Lakul when it just left space dock at Earth. Plus the Lakul is only 3 light years away, making the Enterprise the only ship in a 3 light year radius of Earth. There is only one ship within 3 light years of the HEADQUARTERS of the Federation. At least in First Contact a small Red Shirt Fleet was assembled in no time flat.
    • While not officially established, it's assumed there are only a few dozen fully stocked ships in Starfleet during the Kirk era, with many others being low-armament, minimal supply science vessels. It doesn't make it that much better, but still. By the Picard/Next Gen era there are much, much more.
    • A better question, is why didn't those refugee ships have an escort? Or, y'know, have a crew that was smart enough to stay away from unidentified phenomenon? I'd love to be a fly on the wall of that bridge.
      Helm: Sir, we have an unidentified anomaly off the starboard bow, should I inform Starfleet?
      Captain: Absolutely not! Plot a course for the anomaly, we'll check it out ourselves!
      Helm: Aye Captain. But what about the refugees?
      Captain: Oh, they'll be fine - I mean it looks so pretty! What could go wrong?
    • Why would you assume they flew toward it when the obvious answer is that the anomaly — which we know moves at extremely high speeds — ran into them?
      • Especially with much lower-speed ships back then, and less accurate and far-reaching sensors to detect and chart astronomical anomalies with. Besides, the transport ships might have had some sort of escort, and it just got blown up by the ribbon first.
  • Earth being unprotected has become practically a running gag. Though, they were able to form a large fleet to intercept the Borg at Wolf 359, only 8 light years from earth.

     Our advanced technology is useless against housefires 
  • Picard's brother and nephew died in a fire. While it's not completely implausible for people to still die in fires in the 24th century, we know that the Star Trek universe has transporters, force fields, biosensors, and antigravity, so it wouldn't be hard to imagine how these technologies can be applied towards firefighting.
    • Picard's brother had an attitude towards technology that makes a Luddite seem dangerously progressive, and the house was isolated. I doubt he bothered with things like smoke detectors and so forth, so if the fire was swift enough then they could quite plausibly have perished long before any neighbors raised the alarm.
    • Even homes with fire and smoke detectors aren't useful if the blaze is fast enough, and if Picard's rustic home was built from wood and stone. And we were never told what kind of fire. Suppose it was a plasma fire?
      • Actually the fire wouldn't have to be that fast. Maybe they were killed by the smoke before it properly took hold, which would be why the neighbours didn't see it in time.
        • Given that we see Chateau Picard in....uh Picard and it still looks to be in pretty good historic shape and not a pile of ashes presumably that's what happened. The fire wasn't too big and it was controlled and put out quickly, but Picard's brother and nephew were unlucky enough to have been in a spot where it killed them before it could be put out. Which is probably how Picard's sister in law survived by being elsewhere in the estate.
    • Honestly, I was more confused about why the only advancements in physical photos in almost 400 years, was the addition of a holographic border. It's like the director told the VFX crew to make the photos holographic - thinking holodeck, and the VFX crew just completely and laughably missed the entire point.

     This guy is the Captain? 
  • Anybody else bothered by Capt. Harriman's performance at the start of the film? He's hesitating like he's just a newly-promoted Captain on his first command. Does the Federation not require some captaincy experience before giving somebody command of their flagship?
    • He was afraid of looking like an idiot in front of the greatest captain Starfleet had ever known. And the press. But mostly Kirk.
    • In the novel "The Captain's Daughter", which happens shortly after the 23rd-century portion of Generations, Harriman (in his personal log) acknowledges that he should have put his foot down on the whole thing before it even got started.
      John Harriman: I should never have let the ship be taken out before she was ready. I was so grateful and excited for the opportunity, I let them steamroll right over any misgivings I had. Key weapons, key defense mechanisms, not on-line until Tuesday. So why the bloody hell didn't I just insist we wait until Tuesday!
      • Of course, if he had done that, the El-Aurians they managed to rescue would've all died (as far as he knew). Kirk would be willing to make that trade.
    • Well, Kirk's first captaincy was the original Enterprise, as was Spock, so there's precedent for giving a freshly-promoted Captain the keys to the flagship. But more importantly, Harriman is hesitating initially because the Enterprise is doing a pretty clear press run, as opposed to a proper shakedown - the crew hasn't fully arrived, half of the ship isn't functioning, or even fully installed... That hesitation is at least in part likely because the Enterprise isn't equipped to do much to help them out because they have no tractor beams, no medical staff, and no photon torpedoes. There is little they can do to help, and it looks pretty bad to show up for a rescue mission to just sit there helplessly. The fact that he still did go to the rescue of the El-Aurians (albeit with a bit of prompting) speaks to him being able to perform once engaged, it was just he was weighing the fact that the Enterprise might not be able to do anything.
    • Not all Enterprise's are the flagship. D was, E was, and the reboot 1701 original was, but it was never stated if any Enterprise's prior to TNG were the Flagship of Starfleet.
    • Keep in mind that Kirk was an exceptional captain - willing to take incredible risks, that more often than not turned out fine. He's a literal Starfleet hero, that has lived up to that label more often than one can count. So in context, yeah - most other Captains aren't going to be nearly as confident. Especially when Starfleet basically hung his ass out to dry on what was supposed to be just an event for the press to drool over. Then again, I suppose if Starfleet required all their Captains to live up to the example of James T. Kirk, then that may be why the Enterprise-B was the only starship around.
    • One must wonder as to what his career was like after this incident - he is going to go down in history as the man who helped kill one of the most famous men in the history of the Federation through incompetence whilst having the entire thing caught on whatever passes for CNN in the 23rd century. And really, that's what it was. Incompetence. That quote above was dead on: by not insisting on his ship being fully functional and manned, a man died who absolutely did not need to. And note how this situation really is not that far removed from the Kobyashi Maru. The Nexus and its energy blasts are the neutral zone and the Klingon warships, and the El-Aurian refugee ships take the place of the Maru. Not only did he visibly hesitate, but the whole Federation saw Kirk actively take on the no-win scenario in his place whilst he just stood around and took orders. There must have been a tribunal following this mess, and generally speaking, there is always a fall guy.
      • According to Expanded Universe novels, Harriman while forever having a black mark on his record of getting James Kirk killed on a casual press run his first turn at the Captain's chair, did in fact manage to have a successful and notable career and built a solid reputation as one would expect for someone who Captained one of the Starship's Enterprise. So he did get past that stumbling block, although he beat himself up over losing Kirk for the rest of his life and it was the first thing one would find in his profile.
    • In this interview Alan Ruck describes the concept of Harriman as being explained to him by Rick Berman as coming "from a wealthy, politically connected family, and they sort of bought you this job as a stepping stone into a political career." Rather un-Star Trek but it does illuminate the role a bit.
    • It seems like he's just kind of overwhelmed, which is understandable. If Kirk and the press weren't there, he might be able to handle the situation fine, but knowing he has all of them looking over his shoulder and potentially judging everything he does causes him to doubt and second-guess himself. Add to that the knowledge that he's taking the ship into a dangerous situation when it's not ready, and it's understandable that he might crack a little under the pressure. It happens all the time in Real Life.
    • Regardless of whether it happens in real life, the kind of people who might crack under pressure are certainly not the kind of people Starfleet wants captaining their big ships. In the episode "Court Martial" Kirk was court-martialed and almost lost his command for simply pressing the wrong button on his chair arm (and thereby causing the death of a crewman). The same Starfleet that demanded such high performance from Kirk while under pressure would undoubtedly have cashiered Harriman for so obviously going to pieces in this situation.
    • Harriman probably wasn't meant to be the long-term captain of the Enterprise. Starfleet only gave him the keys so he could go on a quick test drive. Nobody expected them to get caught in a real situation.
    • The real world reason was to make Kirk look great compared to this buffoon. Really annoying. The one great thing of Abrams’ Trek is he avoided that trope by making Captain Pike smart and competent.

     What's a Ferengi? 
  • At some point during the Farpoint mission, Geordi apparently told Data a joke that ended with "the clown can stay, but the Ferengi in the monkey suit has to go." The Federation hadn't yet had a face-to-face encounter with the Ferengi.
    • The Federation knew the Ferengi existed, so it's not unreasonable that they had a few jokes going around about them. It's like making a joke about giant squids: we've known about them for ages, but it wasn't until about a decade ago that scientists were finally able to study and document a live giant squid.

     Really big map room 
  • Why does the Enterprise need to have a three-deck-high Stellar Cartography room? If the sole purpose of the room is to provide a display that surrounds the viewers, can't they just use a holodeck for that?
    • Holodecks are built to be used for leisure and other reasons; you go to use the Holodeck for some important Cartography work, and someone else is using them, then you start to wonder why we don't have a three-deck high Cartography deck. And lets not get started on Holodeck Malfunction. Besides, it probably has a range of functions, and we just don't see enough of it.
      • Who said that the "cartography room" wasn't a holodeck?
    • To be fair, if the Enterprise-D was real, they probably could've just used the holodeck. But since this was 1994, they kinda had to make a special set for it. It's not like the holodeck scenes were actually shot in the holodeck either.
    • Also, the Galaxy-class is pretty notorious for its breathtakingly poor use of space. There's canonically an entire deck that was intentionally left unfinished (deck 8, for those of you keeping score), for no other reason than to accommodate hypothetical future expansion. A cavernous, multi-deck stellar cartography display room is pretty much par for the course.
      • Yep. The Galaxy class is a great example of peacetime decadence. It is probable that this class just straight up stopped being made after the Dominion war and those that remained lost many of their trappings. Arguably you can even see that in this film (which takes place in season three of Deep Space Nine which is after the Dominion did a kamikaze run on the USS Odyssey) given the harsher lights and re-fitted bridge with the side consoles.
      • That's actually quasi-canonical. Background material states that during the war, existing Galaxy-class spaceframes were rushed through production without most of the luxuries that the prewar ships were known for. If you were paying attention, at least two variants of the Galaxy-class could be spotted on-screen; one with what appeared to be additional phaser arrays mounted to the engine nacelles, and the other with a noticeably darker hull coloration on the interconnecting "neck" of the ships. The latter may have been a rendering error, but fans have also speculated this was additional armor of some kind. The sheer size of the vessels probably made them great troop transports in addition to their apparent wartime role as fast battleships; but the postwar fate of these unfinished ships is unknown.

     When the saucer is skidding, why doesn’t the bridge crew brace? 
They obviously know that when the saucer finally halts, they will be thrown forward. Yet most of them, most noticeably Riker, just sit there looking worried. Then of course, he goes flying forward.
  • Riker's not very savvy. Maybe he just assumed the inertial dampers would save him?

     Burying Kirk upon a mountain 
  • Picard buries Kirk upon a mountain on Veridian III, which is a sad scene in itself. But we never find out whether he ever revealed to his crew or even Starfleet that he found a very much alive James T. Kirk in the Nexus, and even teamed up with him to defeat Soran. Surely Picard would've mentioned this to Starfleet so they can at least give the most celebrated former captain a proper funeral. Then there's Spock, Scotty, and (assuming he's still alive) McCoy who would've been the most interested in learning that their captain and friend was actually alive the whole time, and died heroically kicking ass one last time.
    • It's not really clear how much time has gone by but one assumes that Picard buried Kirk because he needed to do something with his body, lest it attract scavangers or whatever. But how and why he did it on top of a mountain is another question (and what did he live off in the meanwhile? I guess Soran left some supplies that survived the battle?). There's no reason to think that Picard wouldn't tell everyone all about Kirk's presence and his death. Quite clearly he's not trying to hide the body — he just wanted to do something meaningful with it, even if it's not to be its permanent resting place.
      • This. Picard wasn't even aware of the destruction of the Enterprise and could have easily been there for days before making contact with the crashed saucer. You're not going to want to leave a body out just to rot. He probably buried Soran too.
      • It was more like a couple of hours at most since Picard hasn't even gotten down from the cliffs before an Enterprise shuttle finds him. Still that's a good point.
      • Would there be anything left of Soran to bury?

     Camera lights 
  • What in the world is the purpose of camera lights that make a single bright spot on the subject's face and keeps other parts dark? There's a reason scrims and reflectors are used in actual productions.

     Why didn't Soran simply use a holodeck? 
  • If Soran wanted that much to see his wife and children again, why didn't he simply use a holodeck to recreate them instead of spending years elaborating a complicated plan to re-enter the Nexus, which is a fantasy world anyway?
    • Having already experienced the Nexus, he probably doesn't see the holodeck as an acceptable substitute. Maybe it'd be like a heroin addict trying to sate themselves with some much milder drug.
    • There’s also the fact that the Nexus seems to be somewhat real in a sense, compared to the completely imagined scenario on the holodeck.