Suspend that disbelief

Hi, my name is Mark, and I’m a Star Trek nerd.  And geek.  Nice to meet you.

I’ve been watching Star Trek (and truly many different genres of Science Fiction) since the 1970s.  Yes, I’m that old.  Tell your friends.  In all that time, I have watched all the tv shows that the Star Trek universe produced, I actually have read many of the books written by people who like the topic.  I used to be able to speak and understand Klingon.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had the need to do so, and my skills have eroded.  Fortunately, I’m not a big fan of gagh.  Even so, there’s a mantra my wife and I have used many times over the years, although I think someone else coined it.  Suspension of Disbelief.

What that means is, when something is so outrageous in a work of fiction, you take it with a grain of salt or suspend the disbelief that you have to allow the plot to take its course.  It allows the story to continue and come to its conclusion, all without pointing out all the inconsistencies that you find and all the plot holes.

Since I’m on the subject of Star Trek, let’s use that.  If you’ve never watched the show (ok, I pity you), this isn’t going to make a lot of sense. Still, I’m going to continue presuming that you, dear reader, at least have a familiarity with the series and understand the characters I’m going to be referring to.

In the movie Star Trek: First Contact; a Borg cube is on its way to Earth to attack, and conquer the planet, to assimilate, or convert all its inhabitants into copies of themselves, i.e., making them all Borg.   For whatever reason, whenever the Borg attack the Federation (The United Federation of Planets), they always do it piecemeal.  One attack, one ship.  Never do they make an effort to start somewhere else and work their way around to the other planets in the Federation, as it might actually make sense to do that.  They always go for a frontal assault and fail.   Too, they almost always attack where the USS Enterprise is or can get to easily.  It’s almost as if they require the ship’s presence to do what they’re doing.  Naturally, the Enterprise can’t be destroyed or get too beat up, or worse yet lose their primary bridge crew, because if they did, how would the show/movie continue?  Long story short, it can’t.  So the Borg, or whoever is the villain, is going to lose.  Every time.  It’s almost sad that the baddies aren’t aware they will go down in flaming defeat every time.

The current Star Trek series, Discovery, requires a heapin-helping of Suspension of Disbelief.  In the current season, the ship has been brought forward 930 years from where it was, to the 32nd century where an event occurred in their recent past that they’re calling ‘The Burn’.  For some unknown reason, the material required to make their engines work suddenly, and very catastrophically, stopped working.  This caused a cascade effect whereby the majority of the Starfleet was destroyed, and the Federation, as it was known, basically ceased to be.  Star travel went from ships going from Point A to Point B in days to months, or even years in some cases.  To make matters even worse, the communication method that had been used for approximately 1,000 years no longer worked, so information was no longer easy to obtain.

To me, here’s where the SoD comes in.  Not all the entities in the series use the same method of propulsion.  Federation/Starfleet vessels, as well as the member worlds of same, employ matter/anti-matter engines, that utilize a mineral called ‘dilithium’ which is used as a catalyst in the engine to stabilize the M/AM (Matter/Anti-Matter) reaction and make for a smooth ride.  Other entities in the series don’t make use of it, and wouldn’t have been affected by The Burn, but they’re not mentioned at all in the series.  If indeed the Borg had been such a threat in the 24th century, it certainly stands to reason by the 32nd, they’d be so much a presence that there would be hundreds, if not thousands of Borg ships streaking through the quadrant.  And taking over what remained of the Federation.  But we don’t see them.  Nor do we see any Romulans, who certainly had a setback 650 years previous when their star went supernova, taking with it their home planet and its satellite, Remus.  But by the time of Star Trek: Picard, they’ve rebuilt their fortunes to have been able not only to decommission and study an inert Borg ship, but they were also able to build and staff a fleet of several hundred warships when it became necessary to attack and destroy a colony world of synthetic lifeforms.

Suffice it to say, there are a great many plot holes in the current series.  But it will be interesting to see if the writers choose to address any of them.  Or just allow disbelief to run around, unchecked.

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