Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Enterprise visits a dead planet

As the away teams reported back to the Starship Enterprise, the reports were all the same. Everywhere on the planet were signs of an advanced civilization. Great abandoned cities were found all over the planet. In each the signs were the same a loss of energy followed by a drastic population drop. The fossil fuel resources of the planet appeared to have been exhausted, and as power plants died computers had been shut down. Wind generators were everywhere, but when Scotty looked at their pictures he shook his head. “Good God,” he said, “you cannot run a planet on wind.”

Mr. Spock nodded. “I don’t understand why they did not build nuclear power plants,” he said.

One away team returned from the North East quadrant reporting a single life sign and recommending a follow up.

Captain Kirk named himself to head the final away team. He asked Mr. Spock to join him. Scotty said he would tag along.

Using a tricorder they picked up the life sign. In the ruined shell of what had once been a house, they found her, a shriveled old women in ragged cloths.

The offered her food, which she accepted.

What happened to your civilization?” Jim Kirk asked.

“After we stopped using fossil fuels, we could not get reliable electricity from the windmills. Things started to deteriorate, and people started to die. The people who knew how to fix the windmills started to die too, so they began to fail and more people began to die. There was a famine and even more people died. Eventually the as windmill stopped working, there was never enough food, people fought over food. The losers starved, but the winners did not last longer.”

“How did you survive?” Spock asked.

“I discovered a warehouse full of dog food. No one else knew about it.”

“Why,” Spock asked, “did your society not adopt nuclear power?”

“Some people wanted to, but we stopped them,” she said. She ran back into the shell of the house and brought out a sign. The sign said, “No Nukes.”

“No nukes,” the woman said and grinned.

“But why?” Spock asked.

“Nukes are dirty. We save the planet. A lot of people would have been killed in a nuclear accident. Responsible people just could not let that happen.”

Jim Kirk and Mr. Spock exchanged glances. “You are welcome to come with us,” Kirk said.

“Well I might, if it is safe. You don’t use nuclear power do you?”

“Good Lord almighty woman,” Scotty said. “Do you think we power space flight at Warp 9 with windmills? Of course we use nuclear power.”

“It would not be safe,” the woman replied.

“We have not had a nuclear accident since 1986,” Scottie said. It is very safe.

The old woman replied, “You are a shill of the nuclear industry, and nuclear shills always lie.”

They offered to leave her a several years supply of food, but she turned them down, because as she explained, it was probably radioactive from the nuclear drive of the replicators. “No thanks,” she said. “I’ll stick with dogfood.”


Robw said...


Excellent post to get your point across.

Although if I want to be picky, all us trekkers know that the Federation actually had moved beyond nuclear and were using matter/antimatter conversion for their main source of power.

I do recall one episode in The Next Generation where they referred to a 'portable fusion reactor'...that was the only reference to nuclear power generation that I recall.


donb said...

There is a lively discussion of wind energy over at "The Oil Drum". It was started by Gail the Actuary, who points out the poor economics of wind power. As usual, in the discussions that follow, the true believers in wind won't give up, siting worst-case economics of nuclear power.

Charles Barton said...

domb, I have already added a number of comments to the Oil Drum discussion.


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