What You Can Learn From Star Trek: A Taste of Armageddon

For those of you (hopefully few) who have not seen A Taste of Armageddon, it is set on and around the planet Eminiar VII.

The Enterprise is sent to open relations. They know little to nothing about Eminiar (Its location would make it a very valuable ally).

It turns out Eminiar and its neighbor (a former colony) have been at war for 500 years. The war, however, is being fought with computers. The linked computers determine if someone was “killed” in a simulated attack if they were they have 24 hours to report to a booth for their death’s to be registered.

The idea was that neither peoples were willing to give up the war. Nor were they willing to devote their entire economy to it, nor destroy so many things of such great value. So they found a way to have their cake and eat it too.

This episode has two great things of value for writers. The first is that the people of Eminiar thought the war they fought was just how things were done, to the point they only explained it when it became obvious that Kirk did not know what was going on (he asked why they were talking about a nuke going off when they enterprise detected nothing). They fought tooth and nail to keep things the way they were, it was not a good way of doing things but they saw no other way.

99% of people see the way things are as normal, you must keep that in mind.

Secondly, it asked very big questions without bashing your head with them, nor did asking them slow things down. Questions about the nature of war, why it should be fought. Really heavy ones.

Allegories can be powerful, but they are like icing on a cake. You first need a good cake, then you need to make sure you don’t weight it down too much. Subtly is the name of the game.

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