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Apollo Sunrise

STID & The Prime Directive (no spoilers)

It’s going to take another viewing for me to get my thoughts together about STID, because even though I was thoroughly spoiled thanks to my avid tracking down of spoilers over the past year (many many thanks to Amanda and Rachael for their complete transcript of STID, which I read the night before I saw it) I’ve been coming down with a bug the past couple of days, my head felt like it was stuffed in cotton when I saw STID, and my brain is nowhere near full operating capacity.

So I’m just going to ramble at random on just one point: the Prime Directive. And probably not on any kind of meta thinky way – just a true ramble.

First, clichéd scene of primitive people with spears is clichéd. That out of the way, the end of that first scene sent me on a mental time trip. I wrote a K/S novella in the 80s, “The Fire Give In To The Sun”, which I’ve never posted. I had various specific points I was working towards making in the novella. Part of the plot involved a time eddy near a non-spaceflight technology world which sweeps a Federation researcher back in time many years. The researcher uses a phaser to defend himself against an attack, and by the time the Enterprise arrives there are temples on this world dedicated to worshipping phasers. (And now I’m thinking of The Book in “A Piece of the Action”, which was doubtless one of my inspirations at the time, along with my reading articles at the time about South Pacific “cargo cults”. )

I was only partway through writing the story when my mother passed away. When I finally managed to finish it my betas told me the ending was flat – the points I was trying to make just weren’t there. I had literally forgotten what I was trying to accomplish with the story. I’ve never reread it, initially because of its coincidental association with my mother’s passing, and later on, because in my mind it was a failed story and I didn’t even want to look at it because I knew if I did I’d want to rewrite the whole thing, and I always have new stories I want to write.

After seeing STID I’ve been thinking of all the times TOS Kirk played fast and loose with the Prime Directive. And that reminded me of one of my favorite TOS pro novels, “Ex Machina”, in which part of the plot deals with people whose job it is to go in after Kirk has ignored the Prime Directive and destroyed a culture’s god-computer (“Return of the Archons”, “The Apple”) and clean up the mess he's made of the local culture. I loved that detail. That’s the part of the story we never got to see, and it made for an interesting part of what is a truly good ST pro novel.

OK, I’ve rambled on, but haven’t said much. Maybe in a few months I’ll have another look at that story. I have a zillion things to do before then though, both fannish and RL. I plan to rewatch STID again, once I actually have my brain back… :-)


There was a lot I liked about it - but I need another viewing to be more coherent. :-) I highly recommend "Ex Machina". It's by Christopher Bennett and I liked it so much I wrote a long review here ages ago.
I don't have time to find the link now, but here's a quote from the first review on Amazon (ignore the typos/grammar): "One of the themes of the orignal series was Kirk taking on computers--usually those keeping a society of growing or interfering somehow. Kirk would generally overthrow the computer control and then warp off into space. This novel deals with the after effects of those actions in an intersting, meaningful way. The novel also plays a lot with the reputation Kirk has gained not only in Starfleet but on some of the worlds he's visited--for good and bad."

It's like how hitmen have "cleaners."

Kirk's "cleaners" would be a highly trained group of individuals with keen psychological insight into how to do their best to make sure no "footprint" is left behind. Hilarious.

I found the "teaser" to STID to be hilarious. I felt it was put there was a tongue in cheek teaser to pay tribute to the "in-jokes" that have taken over pop culture from Classic Trek. The cliches were on purpose.

And of course later in the movie Kirk is taken to task for his blatant mistake and his ship is taken from him. That is no small punishment! So his actions are given serious repurcussions, forcing Kirk to take responsibility.

I read a critque that said this Kirk has more disregard for the "rules" than TOS Kirk. I believe that's an unfair criticism since this is an alternate universe and this Kirk is about ten years younger than TOS Kirk with very very little experience. He's just about to go out on his five year mission. He's still learning and we're doing that learning alongside him.

That said, I have this kink for characters who don't obey the rules (look at my icon,) so I will be a Kirk defender until time stops.

Edited at 2013-05-19 08:11 pm (UTC)
Kirk's "cleaners" - I like that! In Archons, Kirk's "cleaning crew" starts with Mr. Lindstrom, who was left behind on the planet. IIRC, he's also a character in "Ex Machina", and I remember quite a bit about how they fix up after Kirk.

I like the fact that Kirk in STID has his command taken from him as punishment for disobeying the prime directive. He needed a growth experience, and this was it.

Absolutely agreed, this Kirk is just starting out, and I'm glad they dealt with this issue in the movie.

I also like rulebreakers. That includes TOS Spock, who, for all of his quoting of rules, quite often seems to feel they only apply to other people, not him.
>>>I read a critque that said this Kirk has more disregard for the "rules" than TOS Kirk.

TOS Kirk broke the Prime Directive in what seems like 50% of the original episodes. And he sure was a good pickpocket! (Patterns of Force.) Not to mention all the rule breaking in TSFS.
Also, doesn't anybody care that Kirk broke the Prime D to save a lot of lives? I do wonder if that volcano was going to destroy the whole planet or just the people on one island. It wasn't clear if there were other inhabitants on other continents. So did he save the planet or just those lives???
I think it was stated (but my brain was a bit foggy at the time) that he was saving the whole planet. My assumption was the volcano would create such a huge dust cloud it would cause vast climate change. But yes, he saved a lot of lives, and if things had gone right no one would have known any different.
*G* Just today I read in a critical review discussion about how TOS Kirk supposedly was never really violating the Prime Directive. I wondered whether they had watched the same series as I had :)

Sound interesting! Maybe you should undust it and reboot it a little :)
Srsly? Someone actually thinks TOS Kirk never violated the Prime Directive? Bwaa-haaa-haaa!

I'll take a look at that old story as soon as I finish my two WIPs. Hopefully some time this fall.
Loki riding

June 2019

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