T O P

In TOS “The Enemy Within”, Sulu is trapped on a planet with crew members. They are freezing, but can’t beam out because of atmospheric interference. Why doesn’t Captain Kirk utilize the shuttlecraft?

In TOS “The Enemy Within”, Sulu is trapped on a planet with crew members. They are freezing, but can’t beam out because of atmospheric interference. Why doesn’t Captain Kirk utilize the shuttlecraft?

Thelonius16

The planet was weird enough to cause that particular transporter issue. Its east to imagine that it had some other weird property that interfered with shuttles. That was just mentioned off screen. I assume you know the real reason — they hadn’t built the prop or model yet.


45and290

Plot device! Side note, the creation of transporters as a production budget cost saving device is amazing. I wonder if there are similar stories for other parts of Star Trek.


transwarp1

The big one was even in the pitch: alternate Earths (or lost colonies, since TOS was an unspecified distance into the future) so they could use existing sets, wardrobe, and props.


dustojnikhummer

Wait so 23rd century was a retroactive thing?


WoundedSacrifice

My understanding is that references in *TNG* are what put *TOS* in the 23rd century. There were times where *TOS* contradicted itself on when it took place. In "Space Seed", it was stated that the Eugenics Wars (which took place in the 1990s and were called the last world war in the episode) were 2 centuries before *TOS.* In "The Squire of Gothos", it was stated that Napoleon lived 900 years before *TOS.*


Thelonius16

Also, the title card to Star Trek II. Although many fan sources at the time took Khan’s “200 years” line as evidence that the TV show itself took place in the 2190s.


MyUsername2459

Yeah, a lot of fans at the time assumed that the movies were in the early 23rd century, with TOS in the late 22nd century.


WoundedSacrifice

Based on “Space Seed”, I would’ve understood the assumption that it took place in the late 22nd century or the early 23rd century. However, the line in “The Squire of Gothos” implied that it was set in the 28th century.


MyUsername2459

In Trek fandom in the 70's and 80's, the Space Seed numbers were used as they were consistent with other references, like "Tomorrow is Yesterday" that put TOS as taking place around 200 years into the future. The Squire of Gothos was an outlier, and most fans ignored that date reference. . .the fact that Trelane was pretty fallible seemed to be a good excuse at the time, as just another mistake he made.


WoundedSacrifice

IIRC, it was Kirk who said that Napoleon lived 900 years before *TOS*. However, “The Squire of Gothos” was definitely an outlier


WoundedSacrifice

Based on “Space Seed”, I would’ve understood the assumption that it took place in the late 22nd century or the early 23rd century. However, the line in “The Squire of Gothos” implied that it was set in the 28th century.


CaptainChampion

The year in which Star Trek is set wasn't mentioned until "The Neutral Zone", the final episode of TNG's 1st season. Everything else has been worked out around that reference. As another commenter said, TOS would vary on how many years into the future it was.


H_Flashman

I dont' believe so. When TOS aired in Germany, the famous "Space...the final frontier..." was 'translated' to "Space...infinite distances...it is the year 2200..." Where did they get that info from in 1972?!


MyUsername2459

The German translators just made it up. There was absolutely nothing in original Trek production materials that gave the year as 2200, or any other year at all. In fact, the writers guide for TOS specifically refused to give a date.


Smorgasb0rk

> The German translators just made it up. Translators back then made tons of shit up because the original publishers tended to be super hands off with foreign markets. That is why the first Bud Spencer movies in Italian are super serious westerns while in germany they are hella funny with lots of slapstick sounds that later got adopted by the Italian production because the movies only were successful in germany


CaptainChampion

Because they variously referred to the 20th century as being either 200 or 300 years ago there was a long held fan belief that TOS was set around 2199/2200. Similarly, the poster for *The Voyage Home* says "From 2286 to 1986" although that wasn't confirmed in the film itself.


absolutebeginnerz

They made it up and were lucky enough to be less than a century off.


dustojnikhummer

Interesting I never saw TNG 1 and 2 I just can't stand the acting and scripts (I have a similar issue with TOS)


Kenway

I get that the scripts in early TNG were pretty bad but there are a few gems in the first two seasons you should check out.


absolutebeginnerz

Wait, did you read the scripts but not watch the episodes?


dustojnikhummer

I mean I tried a few episodes but can't stand the acting and writing. Never watched full seasons.


fistantellmore

Most definitely. TOS sets “Space Seed” around 200 years after 1996. “Return to Tomorrow” matches this, though it’s around 200 years after 1966. “The Squire of Gothos” sets itself 900 years after the Napoleonic era. Most chronologies used the Space Seed timeline until TNG decided to rewrite the canon.


dustojnikhummer

Huh, I wonder how fans at the time felt about this retcon.


MyUsername2459

It happened at the same time as a lot of other retcons in Trek. The retcon of the dating system was really established in 1988 with the reference in "The Neutral Zone", that was also in the same general timeframe that they started to talk about the Federation not using money (first mentioned in Star Trek IV a couple of years prior), stopped referencing the Franz Joseph tech manual, and generally made a lot of changes behind the scenes in assumptions about the Trek universe. There was a quiet, unannounced reboot/retcon of a lot of Trek between roughly 1986 and 1988. A lot of fans just plain ignored it and chalked up the new dating and retcons to being yet another inconsistency or continuity problem (like several in TOS they'd learned to tune out). . .but by the 1990's it was clear that this wasn't just a random error, it really was a rather sweeping retcon.


MyUsername2459

Yes. The original writer's guide specifically didn't set a date for when Trek took place, just that it was in the future. Stardates existed entirely as a way to have an official-sounding date, but not having to worry about exactly when the show was set. They eventually had to settle on a date because too many episodes were making references to when Trek was set compared to the modern day. In fact, in early Trek fandom of the 1970's to late 1980's, it was assumed the show took place in the late 22nd century, based on a couple of references to the 20th century being about 200 years in the future. . .like Kirk's remark to a USAF Security Policeman in "Yesterday is Tomorrow" that he'd lock Kirk up for 200 years, which Kirk says "That should be about right". The first hint of modern chronology happened in Star Trek II, when the vintage that is gifted to Kirk is 2283, but a lot of fans glossed over that one at the time. The modern chronology was really set at the end of TNG Season 1, with Data giving the exact Earth year as 2364, and the date references in the TNG Tech Manual giving more specifics before the Okuda Chronology came out in 1993.


SergarRegis

Not Star Trek but famously also in 1963 Doctor Who's production team landed on the idea that his time machine was bigger on the inside and projected a disguised shell around its real world interface... so that they could pack it on a van for location shoots. Of course this got a homage with the time capsule in Enterprise.


tru_power22

The medical scanner from TOS was a painted salt and pepper shaker, so I think the counts lol.


jimmy_talent

Honestly I (and from what I've heard a lot of Star Trek writers) actually think it was one of the biggest mistakes in the history of the franchise because transporters take away pretty much any danger planetside, that's why despite the fact that in cannon transporters are one of the most dependable technologies on a ship they are constantly breaking down and being interfered with.


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OneChrononOfPlancks

A better question is why didn't they beam down blankets, tents or shelters. ....because they would have been duplicated into "good" blankets and "evil" blankets?


SmokeSerpent

They idea of an "evil blanket" made me chortle.


jryser

Makes you cold and is itchy


TeMPOraL_PL

Or tries to strangle you at night.


JoeyJoeJoeJrShab

I've had exactly the same thought while watching this episode.


BellerophonM

They were going to send supplies, but that point Evil Kirk had destroyed the transporter circuits. By the time they got them back on most of the party was unconscious and they had to risk the reintegration fix.


OneChrononOfPlancks

Well they did say they tried beaming down heaters, which came out non-functional. But why not blankets or firewood or something


techno156

Maybe risk of it going wrong? If it rendered a fairly simple heater non-functional, there's a non-zero risk that it might cause a weird interaction with the firewood, or blankets. No-one wants firewood or blankets that are either sentient, or filled with strange goo/explosives as a result of not integrating correctly.


MoreGaghPlease

Perhaps because of atmospheric interference.


McGillis_is_a_Char

When the sun went down the winds seemed really intense. It would probably be really dangerous to fly in those conditions.


MithrilCoyote

That was my assumption. Plus the area the away team was in looked pretty mountainous. So even trickier winds and no good areas to set down.


DemythologizedDie

Because that wouldn't work. Why wouldn't it work? We weren't told. However there was something odd about the planet. Shirtsleeve weather during the day, then the temperature plummets to 120 degrees below zero? That just ain't right. There was also an establishing shot of weird lights in the sky. Maybe the planet was generating some kind of energy field that would zap shuttles if they tried to cross it, and while during the day it was powered by sunlight, at night it was powered by the planet's own heat thus putting the planet into the deep freeze. So, take it on faith. Shuttles wouldn't work, they knew the reason why shuttles wouldn't work, and didn't feel the need to explain to each other something that they already knew. If they had explained it to the audience it would have involved a particle of the week. It isn't even a matter of the shuttle set not being ready yet, because even if it had been ready, they wouldn't have used it. The script required the party to be stranded so there would be a crisis that nice Kirk would fall apart contemplating.


OneChrononOfPlancks

It's actually not implausible for planets to have such drastic temperature change between night and day. Even "habitable" ones.


SmokeSerpent

There are places on earth that swing 40 degrees Celsius in the right season. The year I was born, Loma, Montana swung 57.2 degrees Celcius in a 24 hr period


DemythologizedDie

On that planet, the temperature swings about 110 degrees Celcius between day and night. (Assuming he was giving the temperature in Fahrenheit). And it's not like the planet was rotating that slowly given the time pressure they were under.


SmokeSerpent

But it is still not implausible. the swing in Montana I mentioned works out to like 135F btw


DemythologizedDie

But that was just one day and a much smaller shift. The way Kirk described it, this temperature shift happens every night.


SmokeSerpent

But still, not implausible. Mars swings 93C at the equator, on an average day.


DemythologizedDie

That's because Mars's atmosphere is less than one hundredth as dense as that of Earth.


SmokeSerpent

But given a different solar system, a "Class M" planet could experience the same temperature fluctuations.


jimmy_talent

I think the issue you're running into is using earth as your reference point, in Star Trek weird is just status quo. Maybe the planet has 1 day years, so you're not only seeing the difference between day and night but also the difference between summer and winter, it's been a while but I don't remember any vegetation which would be a likely side effect of such a short year. Maybe the planet has a network of underground hot springs heating the surface on a 12 hour on off cycle. Maybe it gets heat from both it's star and some stellar phenomenon that works a bit differently. Maybe the planet just has a super wonky orbit that zig zags or something. Maybe it was once the home of an industrialized civilization who caused a ton of damage to the atmosphere making it take in heat really well but not be able to hold it well


LiamtheV

The same atmospheric disturbances that rendered the transporter inoperable would have made using the shuttlecraft risky due to the interaction of the planet's ionosphere and the shuttlecraft's shield generators, and the shields were necessary due to intense atmospheric activity in the planet's mesosphere.


tejdog1

Because the ionosphere of the planet was charged with a never before seen mutated delta particle that would interact poorly with the shuttlecraft's engines.


JoeyJoeJoeJrShab

The real reason was that the shuttle craft set/prop hadn't been made yet. This is episode 5 of the series. In-universe explanation: \\\_(ツ)\_/¯ Whatever the reason was, it was so obvious to the entire crew that they never felt the need to even mention it. Is it possible the Enterprise didn't have any yet? Yes, the Enterprise clearly had shuttle bay doors, but is there a rule that a ship needs to be stocked with shuttles? They aren't life boats, after all. (We've never seen a ship with enough shuttlecraft to evacuate the whole crew.)


WoundedSacrifice

>(We've never seen a ship with enough shuttlecraft to evacuate the whole crew.) In *ST ‘09*, the *Kelvin* had enough shuttles to evacuate everyone.


JoeyJoeJoeJrShab

hmm, it's been a while since I've seen that one -- I assumed it was a combination of shuttles and escape pods.


WoundedSacrifice

There might’ve been escape pods, but I only remember seeing a lot of shuttles.


defiantnd

The shuttles weren't supposed to arrive until Tuesday.


45and290

Sickbay? Torpedoes?


defiantnd

The tractor beam was on backorder from Amazon. It didn't even make it on Tuesday.


pariah-angel

Sulu is the only pilot skilled enough to fly through that storm safely and he's on the planet.


45and290

How can the flagship of the Federation only have one competent pilot?


psuedonymously

You already got the real answer, which is that the shuttle models and sets hadn’t been built yet. You’re just going to get fun head canon answers from here on in. If you’re going to be pedantic about them I’ll see you and raise you a “TOS Enterprise was never established to be the flagship”


45and290

Oh damn, it wasn’t? Love learning something new each day.


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WoundedSacrifice

The *Enterprise* wasn’t treated as a special ship in *TOS*, but I don’t remember anything that indicated that it was considered out of date compared to other Federation ships in *TOS*.


techno156

It wasn't. It was a fairly standard ship of the line at the time.


techno156

It was just another ship, but it wasn't really outdated at the time. It was just a standard ship, like the Excelsior or Miranda after it. The hero treatment only really started happening after the TOS movies, or after TNG started, when we had a fourth-generation Enterprise.


pariah-angel

I didn't say "competent," I said "skilled." You don't send someone who is just competent to fly through a storm, you send the best pilot you have. Someone you are damn sure is going to get there and back, guaranteed, so you don't have to launch a second rescue for his ass. That pilot is Hikaru F#*$king Sulu and anyone else is just "competent."


jimmy_talent

Would a Starfleet pilot who couldn't fly through crazy storms actually be considered competent though? Remember we're talking about Starfleet, an organization who actively seeks out crazy stellar phenomena and often having to fly into it while having only a basic understanding of what it is and sometimes it's malevolent.


techno156

I think so. Whenever we see anyone need to do anything advanced, like piloting through a storm, or doing something unconventional, like flying the Enterprise through a minefield, there's only one or two pilots that seem to be able to pull that off. It's possible that normally, piloting is treated as an automated routine, and most people aren't really taught anything more complicated than the bare minimum, since you don't generally need all that much more than that most of the time.


jimmy_talent

You know what's kind of funny? I actually agree with pretty much everything you said while still thinking you've got it wrong. I think there is actually a difference between pilot and helmsman and this: >It's possible that normally, piloting is treated as an automated routine, and most people aren't really taught anything more complicated than the bare minimum, since you don't generally need all that much more than that most of the time. Is kind of the linchpin in my argument. They would have to have more than one pilot in case someone gets someone is incapacitated but if 99% of is just monitoring the auto pilot and occasionally entering in a new heading you don't really need that many pilots. My guess is 3 pilots would be standard because starfleet likes having tertiary backups for when they do crazy shit. Basically what I'm saying is that I think most people flying the ship are not actual pilots, which I think makes more sense especially considering how many Ensigns seem to fly the ships.


45and290

The 1701 has more than 400 crew members and six shuttle craft. It’s also been established that there are multiple helmsman on the Enterprise that successfully pilot her in combat and intense space.


techno156

True, but piloting the Enterprise in combat is a far cry from piloting a shuttle through what could be a storm. It could be the difference between flying a Cessna, or an Airbus A-380.


45and290

Or the helmsman of an aircraft carrier vs the pilot of a helicopter or jet.


pariah-angel

Well then maybe Kirk is an imbecile with an undeserved reputation. Suspend your disbelief about a show from the sixties.


45and290

This subreddit is for in-depth discussions about Star Trek.


CaptainHunt

The same reason that the Flagship of the Federation is always the only ship in range, even if the problem is effecting Earth, in the heart of the Federation.


riqosuavekulasfuq

Please tell me where it's stated that in that time period that the Enterprise was the flagship?


45and290

Calm down, we already addressed that in another thread.


riqosuavekulasfuq

I am calm. I was calm when I asked the question. Please is still a word used to convey civility, is it not?


45and290

You were asking an obvious question to point out a trivial adjective in my statement in a very transparent attempt to appear more knowledgeable. Whether or not the 1701 was “the flagship” at the time of “The Enemy Within” still doesn’t address the issue of why a front line exploratory starship would only have one competent pilot. So, why would any starship of Enterprises’ size, complement, and mission not have more than one competent/skilled/trained shuttle pilot?


WoundedSacrifice

Based on what was shown in various *TOS* episodes, I’d say that the *Enterprise* had more than 1 skilled pilot.


ITSYABOIGALAXY

the enterprise wasn’t necessarily the flagship because it was almost 20 years old


Preparator

We don't even know if Starfleet of that era even had a "flagship of the fleet" like the 1701D. It might have been a later invention.


techno156

The Enterprise wasn't the flagship not because it was 20 years old, but because it was a standard ship of the line, any more than a typical Miranda, or Excelsior would be.