In which Starfleet’s Ambassadorial staff are a bunch of morons, lots of things are brought up that are best forgotten, and Kirk is surprisingly rationalist – multiplying, even if he won’t shut up.
Captain’s Log – Well’s Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale is pretty good, and
the Enterprise is en route to a new civilization, and Starfleet Ambassadors don’t have to wear uniform and refuse to acknowledge a Code 710, which means roughly “fuck off, Starfleet.” This is not good enough for Ambassador Fox, who insists on opening up a trade port on a planet that does not want Starfleet anywhere near it. Apparently Starfleet’s policy of leaving people alone if they don’t want to be talked to does not exist. The population is stated to have spaceflight so it may not be a Prime Directive issue, but it’s still incredibly imperialistic and not what you think of when you think of Star Trek.
Planet Eminiar VII has been at war with its nearest neighbor for quite some time, and Starfleet has lost at least one ship, and Kirk is beaming down with some redshirts, which means he’ll be beaming up alone. Kirk is leaving the ship to Scott and taking Spock with him. I’m not sure why. A lovely woman wearing some curtains greets Krik as he beams down, so he instantly goes into his bedroom voice. Is this standard diplomatic procedure?
Eminiar VII has been at war for 500 years with Eminiar III – Vindicar, and suffers 1-3 million casualties/year, despite a total lack of infrastructure damage or traces of any kind of damage. Fusion bombs are beamed over targets and detonated, and the Enterprise detects nothing. And it looks like the Enterprise has been hit as well. And it turns out that the attacks are simulated and casualties are to report in for disintigration. If you have to fight a war, there’s arguments for and against. For: There is no destruction, no radiation, no disruption of infrastructure. But of course, there’s also little incentive to stop. Neither side is forced by the threat of mutual annihilation to actually sit down and work out their problems.
One of the Eminiarites can duplicate Kirk’s voice, indicating that the crew are
well-trained enough to spot and question uncharacteristic orders that appear legitimate. Also, Spock can apparently do his mind-meld through a door. I see why nobody ever talks about anything but the first 20 minutes of this episode – the rest of it is full of convenient abilities that never come up again.
Stuff happens. The planet opens fire on the Enterprise and they have to put up screens. Apparently, the Enterprise cannot fire full phasers with the shields up, but they can fire torpedoes, which indicates it’s probably a power requirement. I don’t recall this issue ever coming up in TNG, so this was likely corrected as soon as the Federation could build reactors capable of the necessary power output. But it also appears they can beam through the screens, since Ambassador Fuckface can beam down even though the Eminiarians being ready to open fire on the ship the moment the screens are down.
General Order 24. The Enterprise has the capacity to destroy the planet. Here’s where I’m going to follow a rabbit hole that people who are better at math and physics than I am have dug. How to Destroy the Earth has some statistics on what it would take to destroy a planet, although we can presume Kirk is speaking colloquially and merely means that the Enterprise will wipe out all life on Eminiar. This scales the power requirement back from ‘Death Star’ to merely ‘Star Destroyer’ status from Star Wars or ‘Exterminatus’ from Warhammer 40k. (I guarantee I got the 40k terminology wrong. Send complaints on the back of a $20 bill.) It still puts the Enterprise, with a crew of 434, as one of the most destructive machines in science fiction, and it barely survived going toe-to-toe with a Romulan warbird. the Star Trek universe is incredibly deadly, and the Federation is terrifying. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Just because they prefer to keep their claws sheathed doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Unless, of course, Kirk was lying. If he was, though, it’s a bluff that Scotty is in on before the fact. Given that Kirk bothers to cancel it when nobody is around to perform for, it doesn’t seem like it.
Why does General Order 24 exist?