Why was Vulcan shown with moons in Lethe?


Why was Vulcan shown with moons in Lethe?

In Star Trek: Discovery S01E06 Lethe we see a scene in Vulcan. (We're assuming this is the Prime not the Kelvin timeline). 
Vulcan is shown with moons - despite not having any.
Indeed - the following commentator writes:

Why was Vulcan shown with moons?  Thought we worked that one out already?  

Another observer opines:

Why did Vulcan have moons? It is WELL established that it has none (even fixed in Dir Ed of TMP).

My question is: Why was Vulcan shown with moons in Lethe?


Answer 1:

Let me begin by saying I haven’t seen the new series so I can’t speak to the general appearance of the “moons.” That said, while Vulcan has no moon, there are a few comments and sources of questionable canonicity indicating that it has a “sister planet” visible in its skyline.

The Animated Series episode “Yesteryear” featured a large object visible in Vulcan’s sky. When a preliminary sketch was presented to Gene Roddenberry, he wrote in block letters “NO MOON!,” but the instructions were either missed or ignored.

enter image description here
The Animated Series is as a rule non-canon according to Roddenberry, but he reportedly made an exception for this episode, given that Sarek later refers to its events in the TNG episode “Unification I.”

SAREK: No. I never knew what Spock was doing. When he was a boy, he would disappear for days into the mountains. I asked him where he had gone, what he had done, he refused to tell me. I insisted that he tell me. He would not. I forbade him to go. He ignored me. I punished him. He endured it, silently. But always he returned to the mountains.

(Per Memory Alpha both Roddenberry and “many other production staffers” consider the episode canon, but that claim is sourced to two fanzines I don’t have copies of. They’re usually good about such things though, and I’ll cite them throughout this answer.)

Confusing things further, Vulcan would later be shown with two things that sure as hell looked like moons in the theatrical version of The Motion Picture.

enter image description here

And then when Roddenberry wrote a novelization of the movie, it said that not only are there no other moons in Vulcan’s system, there are no other planets! (Don’t worry, the novelization isn’t canon. I’m just including this to indicate how confused the issue was.)

The “moons” were removed from the 2001 DVD version of The Motion Picture, but there are conflicting statements about whether it was for canon reasons. Memory Alpha has two quotes from two people behind its removal.

VISUAL EFFECTS ARTIST DAVE MORTON: “Vulcan has no moon, and there were all these planets floating around it in the original release. These new Vulcan shots were done mainly to match better with the other films.”

RESTORATION SUPERVISOR MICHAEL MATESSINO: “We eliminated things that you might not associate with a far-off monastic temple. We did not take our directions from a simple line of dialog. Vulcan in and of itself should be interesting without cluttering the sky. Besides, it was obvious that the sun was out in that scene. The change keeps things in the spirit of where we are going. It’s not about what’s up in the sky, it’s about what’s happening with Spock.”

So now you have another headache about whether the updated DVD version ought to erase the canonicity of the original film (ask Star Wars fans whether in canon, Han shot first) and whether it should matter if the moons were erased for stylistic reasons and not to “correct” the scene.

But even before that scene, there were 20-odd years of confusion about what exactly the objects in Vulcan’s sky was supposed to be. An explanation seized upon by fans was that Vulcan had a “sister planet” visible from space. Per Memory Alpha, there were two official reference books published in 1991 and 2002 that reported that information and named it “T’Khut” or “T’Kuht.”

But are the reference books canon? Oh boy, I hope you’re sitting down, because we just walked into another canon debate.

From Harry Lang, Senior Director of Viacom Consumer Products Interactive:

“Only the reference books (tech manual, encyclopedia, etc…) and two books by Jeri Taylor are considered canon outside the TV show and movies.”

From longtime Star Trek producer Ronald D. Moore:

“We do use things like the Encyclopedia, the Chronology, the Technical Manual etc. for reference, but unless it was explicitly mentioned on screen, we won’t feel bound by anything stated even in those books.”

tl;dr Star Trek canon is a complete mess, and it MAY be the case that Vulcan has large objects in its skyline depending on who and what you believe determines “canon.” I’ll note that there other elements Star Trek: Discovery– namely the holodeck— that only make sense if you assume the Animated Series is canonical to some degree.



Why didn’t Sisko et al. check Lisa’s numbers?


Why didn’t Sisko et al. check Lisa’s numbers?

I was reading this question when I spotted something interesting.  "The Sound of Her Voice" opens like this:

LISA [OC]: My name's Lisa Cusak. Until a couple of days ago, I was the commanding officer of the Olympia.
  SISKO: The Olympia.
  LISA [OC]: We left the Federation over eight years ago for a long range exploration of the Beta Quadrant.
  SISKO: What happened to your ship, Captain?
  LISA [OC]: We were finally heading home, if you can believe that, then we picked up some strange energy readings in a nearby star system, and I decided to stop and investigate. We found an energy barrier around the fourth planet that was unlike anything we'd ever seen, and when we probed it with our scanners it triggered a quantum reaction. There was an enormous surge of metrion radiation that disabled our engines. The next thing I knew, we were spiraling in toward the surface. I gave the order to abandon ship and the last thing I remember is a console exploding in my face. I woke up in an escape pod on the surface and I've spent the last day and a half sitting in this cave trying to raise someone on subspace.
  BASHIR: Captain, Doctor Bashir, Chief Medical Officer. Your message said that you were on a L class planet. Are you sure?
  LISA [OC]: Positive. And to answer your next question, yes, I've been giving myself fifteen cc's of triox every four hours to compensate for the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Just like it says in my medical tricorder.
  BASHIR: How much triox do you have left?
  LISA [OC]: One hundred and fifty millilitres.
  BASHIR: Will you to decrease the dosage, Captain, to eight cc's every six hours. We need to stretch your supply as long as possible.
  KASIDY: What happens when she runs out of the drug?
  LISA [OC]: That's a good question, Doctor. What happens then?
  BASHIR: You will begin to experience the effects of hypoxia. But before that happens, the triox compound will have strengthened your cardiopulmonary system, allowing you to better withstand the effects.
  LISA [OC]: Better withstand the effects. In other words, I'm going to be gasping for air and turning different shades of blue by the time you get here.
  BASHIR: Yes, I'm afraid so.
  LISA [OC]: Thanks for brightening my day.
  KASIDY: Is there anything we can do?
  LISA [OC]: There is, actually. I can't sleep. I think the injections are keeping me awake and I haven't had anyone to talk to for two days.
  SISKO: We'll be able to help you with that, Captain. I'll have one of my officers stay on the comm. line with you at all times.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode 6x25 "The Sound of Her Voice"
At the end of the episode, it is revealed that:

 The Olympia had crashed more than three years before the Defiant arrived, and the planet's energy field shifted their radio signals back and forth through time.  Lisa was long dead when they finally arrived on the surface.


 She told them that she left the Federation "over eight years ago," but actual records would have reflected 11+ years.  The Olympia was heading home at the time of the crash, so it is likely that Starfleet would have declared them overdue at some point, meaning 8 vs. 11 years is not a minor difference.  It's the difference between being overdue and not.


  She also specifically told them that she had only been on the planet surface for "a couple of days," so it is not possible that Sisko et al. misinterpreted the "eight years" as the mission duration rather than the total time elapsed.  Such a misinterpretation would require her to have been stranded for more than three years, not two days, which is inconsistent with what she told them.

Why didn't anyone check Lisa's story against Federation records and note the discrepancy?  At the very least, it seems like they would have contacted Starfleet to say "Hey, we're rescuing this person, if we don't report in by X time, assume we got stranded too and send another rescue crew."


Answer 1:


The Defiant may be operating inside Federation lines, but they certainly don’t want to run into a Jem’Hadar raider while they’re on a time-sensitive mission of mercy, something that would substantially slow them down.

BASHIR: We’re a long way from the front lines, Worf. The chances of meeting a Dominion ship out here are negligible.

WORF: (to Sisko) We should not take the risk.

This presumably includes not broadcasting their position to all and sundry.