2009-05-28

The Temporal Incursion Fallacy

I'm seeing a lot of people assuming that the USS Kelvin as seen in the Star Trek movie existed in the 23rd Century of TOS. That is dead wrong.

Shall we have ourselves a little gedankenexperiment please?

Let us assume linear time, and no universe-hopping or universe-creating potential from time travel. (Orci, this means you.) Let us further assume a rational universe without deific beings.

Now then . . .

Yesterday, I developed a time machine. Tomorrow, you will go back in time to January 1, 1939 to shoot Hitler.

Question: Is it reasonable to assume that all of the events prior to 1939 are unchanged?

Answer: No.

After all, I just sent you back to shoot Hitler. Who is to say what other time travel events might or might not have occurred till now, some of which might be altered when you kill Hitler?

As noted elsewhere,

"Go back in time and blow up Kirk's Enterprise as soon as it pulls out of Spacedock, for instance, and you not only change the 23rd Century but even the 20th ("Tomorrow is Yesterday", "The City on the Edge of Forever", "Assignment: Earth", and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). This would likely also alter the 24th Century, meaning Picard's Enterprise, meaning "Time's Arrow" . . . in which case the 19th Century is altered, not to mention the 21st and 22nd (First Contact and the related "Regeneration"[ENT]). But of course, at that point the 20th Century gets even more altered, thanks to "Past Tense"[DS9], "Little Green Men"[DS9], "Future's End"[VOY], and "Carpenter Street"[ENT].

While you could argue, per Orci, that each of those events created a different universe, it is clear from all those episodes that Trek lives in a universe where each of those events and changes occurred."


Thing is, though, the same is true even in the non-linear time concept. If you're going to a parallel universe when you 'time travel', how do you know it has the same content as the one you left, if you don't know what yours looked like at the time? For instance, if you had never seen Star Trek and all you saw was the "In A Mirror, Darkly" episodes, which were set in the evil "mirror" universe, you might be led to believe that's what Star Trek was all about.

At best, you can say "pending other knowledge, we will use this data" . . . but that's terribly silly, really. I mean, do you really think the data from another universe ought to be used just because you don't know about the universe you're interested in? Why not just use Battlestar Galactica data while you're at it? Sure, it's a different universe, but that hasn't stopped you before.

That's just silly.

A ship named Kelvin probably did exist in the TOS continuity at some point, but we have no reason to believe it looked like that, had the same captain, or anything else. To assume otherwise is to employ what I'm calling the Temporal Incursion Fallacy.

2009-05-25

What Is It With You, Anyway?

Bernd is right.

Ex Astris Scientia's Bernd Schneider has been villified online lately for daring to question some off-the-wall press reports (e.g. blogs, esoteric industry insider Hollywood production mags, et cetera) of a massively upscaled Enterprise for the new film. He contested that notion because, to paraphrase his thoughts, (1) it would be completely retarded for them to keep the same TMP-era exterior details, some of which are almost as good as ladders or stairs for giving sizing cues, but then upscale them on the starring ship like some Voyager ship-of-the-week, (2) one can't always trust the claims of VFX guys (be it "impressionist" VFX guys like DS9's Stipes, or Richard Edlund's 500 mile Death Star), (3) there are seeming scaling variations within the film, so it's too early to come down on an abnormal figure without good reason, and (4) basically, the larger that ugly ship is, the more absurd its shape becomes, simply as a question of engineering.

Now, I don't necessarily agree with all that, but I see his points. Sure, given the gaping plot holes, a lazy production ethic based more on flash than substance (resulting in mere upscaled TMP-era components) is not a huge shock to me, and given the apparent parallel universe I'm quite okay with everything being different, even if it doesn't make sense to us why particular things might be*. Vic's dead, after all. (If anything, it could be more different . . . it's always been kinda silly to have mere set redresses in parallel universes.)

And also, not everyone is working from the same evidence. Some have been listening to the desperate efforts of Orci et al. to handwave away the most retarded parts of the film, treating their words as gospel. Some have been looking at some well-selected and seemingly cam-grab-derived screen-caps on online forums, while others have other images in mind or hand. Others base all their info from trailer images that never appear in the film.

Is it really bonkers to wait for a full accounting of the proper evidence before accepting some wacky figure from some unknown dude? I think not. Even the scaling of Star Wars ships, which most people accepted based on similar trade paper statements, has recently come under scrutiny, so it is hardly evidence of wild-eyed lunacy to approach the topic with intellectual caution. And until the DVD Blu-Ray comes out and we can scale to
our heart's content, it's definitely silly for people to freak out at
the present time based on trailer images and vague recollections.

So for me, I'm leaning based on what I've seen and heard toward the 725-ish meter ship, though I'm fond of the claim of 610m. Others haven't seen or heard the same things and so they might lean elsewhere, and I might even agree with them if I'd seen or heard what they have. No big deal. But I'll still call it the Monsterprise either way. :)

It's not a critical issue, the evidence is not readily available yet, and it is not evidence of mental deficiency or some sort of Bernd temper tantrum as some very strange people are claiming. It is the quest for consistency in a Trek universe rendered far more inconsistent than ever. The only thing that's peculiar is to see people freak out about it.


(*) There's a distinction between production and content. From a
production standpoint, having a bridge dome no longer surrounding the
bridge, yet looking exactly the same, except that the former headlight
notches are now bridge windows and the whole thing's twice as big . . .
it just makes no sense at all. But in-universe, we can imagine any
number of reasons for such a shape to come standard relative to the
other shapes, be it subspace dynamics, a particular designer's history
similar between the two universes, or whatever . . . it doesn't
matter.




2009-05-18

Glossary of Star Trek 2009 Terms

Henceforth, I shall refer to the Star Trek ships as follows:

1. The Abrams movie's Enterprise is dubbed the Monsterprise, due to her unattractive proportions and wildly increased size.

2. The class of the ship is reportedly also "Constitution" in the film. However, as this is confusing, I shall refer to it as the Altstitution Class.

3. Unique ships like the Kelvin and Narada do not require unique naming, as they are themselves unique.

4. I have yet to figure a good name for old Spock's ship other than "Supernova Spock's ship". I refuse to call it the Jellyfish, because that's even more retarded than any other name I've written thus far.

5. Other ships like the Farragut are awaiting special names, because "Monstergut" or "Altagut" just don't work.

There is also my prior use of continuity distinctions to consider as a solution. For instance, we have the Prime continuity (TOS, et al.), the Supernova universe (Nero and old-Spock's origin point), and the Black Hole continuity (starting with Nero's arrival in 2233 and culminating in the new Kirk and his Monsterprise).

It should be noted that I am wickedly fond of calling the quasi-reboot's continuity the "Black Hole continuity", given the numerous implications . . . some of which are not family-friendly.

In any case, though, that would mean I could refer to the BH Farragut or the USS Farragut (BH). I'll work on that.


Site Downtime

Some of you might've noticed some site downtime this weekend. Sorry about that . . . it appears my webhosts forgot how to process valid card information. Not only did they seemingly lose the one on file, but even when re-entered their system couldn't deduce the complexities of correct operation.

I hate stupid crap like that. But, to their credit, the e-mail address they had on file for alerts of such nature was an older one I do not check frequently, so at least they tried to alert me that they'd gone all 'tard-o-matic on me.

2009-05-10

Star Trek Reaction (spoilers!!)

"It was ... fun."

Yes, that's true. But dear sweet heaven the main plot was full of holes and silliness. I mean, I like it as just a fun film . . . it had that fun fluffy romp feel of, say, the Lost in Space movie. Suspend disbelief and lose a couple of hours for eye candy, and you're done.

But I don't want to be completely unfair. The first few minutes set in 2233 are excellent, in my opinion, and if you're not careful they could be tear-jerking (for anyone, not just Trek people). The segments regarding Spock's youth are virtually flawless, soon turning a simple talking moment with a no-thank-you into a moment you almost want to cheer.

Frankly, that was all wonderful stuff.

But after such a great start, we quickly slip toward meaningless-but-fun action-adventure, without depth, and contrivances begin to multiply.

Let's be clear, here . . . I want to like it. And besides, after the Onion so deftly poisoned the well, there's almost pressure to. I'm just not sure I honestly can.

That said, you can't fault any of the people involved in the technical aspects of making the film. The effects were flawlessly professional, the actors were all very good in their roles, and the pacing was effectively frenetic. Whoever did the sound mixing threw in lots of old 60's Trek noises for buttons, beaming, et cetera, and I appreciated them.
(( However, the excessive lens flares were distracting
and annoying, and the music rather surprisingly sucked. ))
Alas, there are (1) gaping plot holes, (2) Trek and real science butchery, and . . . well, frankly, (3) I'm not even sure this has any relation to TOS, over and above its acknowledged splits.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Let's consider some of the plot holes.
1. In 2387 a "supernova" threatens to "destroy the galaxy", and threatens Romulus specifically or first with its blast wave. Spock is late to save the planet with some black-hole-making magic red stuff. Romulus goes boom. Then Spock stops the supernova.
Seriously? How could Spock be late to something with a predictable arrival time? He might as well have overslept.
2. An angry Romulan space trucker (Nero, flying around in his big rig the Narada) concludes that the Federation stood by and watched his planet burn, and that Spock was personally responsible and must be punished. He attacks Spock's ship and both of them fall into the new black hole Spock made, naturally going backwards in time and popping out at random places in Federation space.

Nero emerges in 2233, incidentally destroying Jim Kirk's father and his ship, then he hides out for 25 years. He is waiting for Spock's arrival in 2258 to continue his quest for revenge and hurt Spock, intending on using the red matter on Spock's vessel to create black holes and destroy every planet in the Federation.
Frankly, I think Nero was right to want to punish Spock, given the goofy idea that he was just running late that day. I mean, I'm not the most timely individual in the world, but I'm pretty damn sure I could wake up on time to save billions of people in a pre-planned event. I'm just sayin'.

But the rest of what happens doesn't make sense to me at all. Captain Space Trucker just watched his planet burn with his wife and child on it. And now he just realized that he is in the past.

I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm interested in revenge when I am in the frickin' past. I am interested in fixing the thing I got pissed about, if possible . . . saving the wife and child, in this case, or even the whole planet of Romulus.

(And y'know, it's really, really simple on this one, if you're Nero. Take the red matter from Spock, go to the star that went supernova, and nip that little sumbitch in the bud. Or, if you want to make sure that doesn't screw with the timeline, you do it in the 24th Century shortly before it goes boom (getting there either via time travel, hanging out near a black hole, suspended animation, or just plain boredom waiting).

Instead, he decides to engage in the costly and troublesome maneuver of taking his 24th Century garbage scow into assorted battles with 23rd Century frontline military starships. Even the 2233 ship had kicked his ass with a ram, apparently even causing a head injury to Nero that left him scarred, so you would think he might reconsider this idea. Maybe the head injury is supposed to explain his stupidity.

. . . no, sorry. I still can't get over the fact that he had 25 years to come up with a good idea. I mean, even if there were complications (given that as soon as he got there he shot up a 2233 starship, thus changing history), there would still be ways to make it work. And even if you're pissed at Spock, the not-even-all-that-smart idea at this point in the reasoning is to seek his assistance, even as your prisoner. After all, he does know a thing or two about time travel, and he is involved with the Vulcan Science Academy, which by this point does acknowledge the idea.)

And incidentally, if Spock's ship was so damned important to the whole galaxy, and carrying a weapon of mass destruction no less, how is it that the stupid thing had no escort at all, so a random guy in a mining scow could know of it and challenge it?
3. Spock apparently surrenders to Nero, who spares his life and maroons him on planet Delta Vega where he is to watch the destruction of Vulcan.
Spock surrenders? Okay, whatever. Not really seein' it, but he's old.

But why maroon him anywhere? Could he not watch from the Narada bridge or even a special room with a window, a room where you could taunt him at your leisure? I mean if you really want to emotionally torture Spock and make him watch helplessly as his homeworld is destroyed, isn't part of the fun being there to enjoy his pained reaction?
4. Later, Spock assists the 2258 Kirk in getting back to the Enterprise, feeling he must be there along with 2258 Spock because they have to become friends so they can beat Nero. Old Spock even refuses to come along with Kirk to the Monsterprise to assist because Kirk had to get the ship on his own or something, along with the implication that it would weird out the timeline or something. I lost track, really.
I lost track, really, because this whole concept was retarded. Old Spock seemed to be of the opinion that Nero's ass could be kicked so long as people named Kirk and Spock were friends on the Enterprise, with Kirk as captain. He even says he didn't come back to the ship because he couldn't withhold from young Kirk and Spock the friendship and understanding of their potential or something.

Basically this is all the most retarded Trek-wank bullshit I've ever seen. Trekkies love the whole idea of their favorite characters always kicking badguy ass, and we've had the deep bond scenes of their friendship always coming in above all (The Search for Spock being the prime example), but now all of the sudden we're supposed to believe in some Care Bears crap wherein so long as alt-Kirk and alt-Spock like each other they can defeat a huge ship with technology that is 100 years more advanced.

That's . . . that's . . . just wow, man.

What should've happened is that old Spock should've been like "yeah, I've gotta come with you, 'cause I know how 24th Century shit works and maybe I can hook you up with some tricks." He could've even caused Kirk and Spock to be friends by mind-melding with both to show them the friendship that he'd had with his Kirk, in the process showing young Spock what an awesome Captain Kirk could be, at which point he steps aside graciously.

Except that last bit shouldn't happen either, because young Spock could go "so what? That's an alternate Kirk, whereas this one is an asshole." And he would be right to point that sort of thing out. It's strange that old Spock decides this universe should be like his, with Kirk as the captain. He doesn't even know this Kirk.
5. Spock adapts himself completely to the new timeline, becoming emotionally invested in the destruction of Vulcan and resigning himself to his fate as dictated by Nero.
This is the biggest leap for me of anything, and frankly this is where I call bullshit against the movie.

Let's imagine, for a moment, a different film. This one starts in 2387 and follows the chain of events from the star going supernova to Spock promising to help the Romulans to Spock failing to wake up on time that day to Spock fighting Nero and ending up in the past.

With that chain of events by itself, you have to know the next step for Spock . . . he's going to fix the timeline, the universe be damned. That's what every Trek character has ever done, even when they shouldn't have.

When a drug-addled McCoy went through the Guardian of Forever and changed the past, did Kirk and the gang just start building shelters from the ruins and start populating the planet? No, although Kirk probably did feed Uhura that line for a minute just to shag her rotten. But after that, he immediately went back in time to bone Joan Collins, potentially causing even more of a temporal incursion, just to try to fix whatever McCoy did.

When the Borg went playing in the past in First Contact, Picard's first reaction was to follow them back and "repair whatever damage they've done". He didn't say "aw, man, Earth vacations are gonna suck now."

When Archer's condition due to an anomaly resulted in the failure of his mission and the destruction of Earth, and when it was suddenly realized that a treatment for his condition could change the timeline, the Enterprise people didn't play around . . . they fixed it via suicide in a warp core breach.

Then you have the shouldn't-have. For instance, the humpback whales had died out when Earth was threatened in Star Trek IV . . . Kirk told the entire universe to suck it, went back in time, showed a chick his "humpback whale", and brought some whales forward to end the threat.

And hell, remember Annorax and the Year of Hell? That guy spent 200 years trying to fix his temporal mistake. Even in the Lost in Space movie they were trying to fix stuff.

But instead, in this movie, Spock surrenders completely to whatever happens to him.

The hell you say.

6. Planets are defenseless.
Why the brainbug about naked worlds with not even a frickin' F-14 Tomcat to defend against a frickin' drill on a long cable dipped into the atmosphere?

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

And now for some of the astrophysical silliness and odd Treknology changes. Skip these if you don't care. Most people probably would or should not.

1. Supernovas do not threaten to destroy galaxies and do not blow apart planets light-years away. This is the cause of the 2387 events but it is silly. (And Spock being late to meet the shockwave thingy is even sillier, because it isn't like it would've been accelerating even if we accept the stupid idea of it.)

2. Black holes are not two-dimensional, "Yesterday's Enterprise"-esque doorways to yesteryear, and if you are falling into one with your megaship you cannot be half-in and half-out of it like it's a stargate.

3. Vulcan had a blue sky. It has never had a blue sky, T'Pol be damned.

4. Delta Vega is a cold planet and apparently a moon of Vulcan now instead of a remote lithium cracking station site, because you can see Vulcan with the naked eye. Except they act like Delta Vega is still remote. But Spock was left there to watch Vulcan's destruction with his naked eyes.

5. Starships are now huge. Whereas before the round bit atop the teardrop bit on the top of the saucer was the bridge, now the bridge is just a little round room taking up a tiny portion of the teardrop bit. In the image below (from a TrekBBS poster), note the little black horizontal line where the superstructure atop the saucer begins . . . that is the bridge window/viewscreen, and it is far too big for the actual one in the film.

Photobucket

The hugeness is also confirmed by various other scenes like shuttles flying over, people working on the hull, and so on, not to mention the fact that even a ship like the Kelvin from 2233 had 15-20 shuttles escaping from it.

But the Enterprise seems to be about largest. You'll hear a lot of people talk about a huge half-saucer from a destroyed ship that the Enterprise almost runs into, but in a wide shot it is clear that this saucer is no larger than the one on the Enterprise herself. Most people seem to miss that.

Some have referred to the new Enterprise as the Monsterprise, and I rather like that. Not only is she big, but she's ugly, too.

5. Normal transporter range is now just 100 miles, unless you have an equation. Plug that into the computer and it's like a cheat code allowing transporter ranges measured in light-years. Titan to Earth beaming is no problem.

6. Warp factors seem to be redone, again. The ship leaves Vulcan at warp factor three, then later Chekov hopes Scotty can get the ship to warp factor four. Unless the scraping of the port nacelle caused way more damage than it appeared, I don't see what the deal is unless the scale's been redone again.

7. Stardates are boned now. It is currently stardate 2009.05 or something retarded like that.

8. Warp speed looks different, again. Instead of even being unique like it used to be, now it just looks like everyone else's FTL.

9. Thrust seemed to come out of the Kelvin's warp engine instead of its impulse drive when a collision course was set.

10. Shields don't seem to do anything anymore. Sure, a Kelvin officer asks if they're even up, but they do decline as the attacks go on, even though the ship is getting punctured anyway.

11. What the hell is up with starships, now? The bridge looks like an Apple Store, while the new Monsterprise engineering section has frickin' analog dials and single-gang electrical knockout boxes everywhere. And shuttles were mixing high-tech touchscreens with old metal toggle switches. Even the bridge had sporadic LED-clock-type number displays, which was just weird. Might as well have had Nixie tubes in random spots.

12. And back to real science for the big finish, it is unnecessary to drill to the center of the planet to drop a black hole there. Per the fears of the LHC, small black holes are more than happy to make their own way to the center of the planet, and would consume mass as they went.

Certainly that is more like how the special effect of Vulcan looked, given that it seemed to collapse into a gravitational crater at the front instead of just smush in on itself.

Finally, why the hell would you have to lower a beam emitter capable of drilling to the center of the planet into the atmosphere? Could this drilling beam not make it through the wisps of air at higher altitudes?

Just a silly excuse for the base . . . er, space jump, I guess.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

So does this movie relate in any way to the old Trek? Has the 2233 incursion, as the Monsterprise characters suggest, deleted the old timeline?

The answers, in my opinion, are "no" and "yes".

First the "yes" . . .

As I noted last time, Star Trek has been surprisingly consistent in that "time travel stories have suggested a single timeline which, when altered, reshapes the Trek fictional universe." Therefore, despite the production staff attempting to say that this is a parallel timeline, I think the Black Hole timeline (e.g. Nero in 2233, destruction of Vulcan, et cetera) represents a replacement of the Supernova timeline (e.g. the one old Spock came from).

This is proven by the fact that the Narada left 2387 first, arrived in 2233, and changed history. Meanwhile the Supernova timeline's Spock left a few seconds later and arrived in 2258 right in the middle of the changed history.

However, the Supernova timeline is not what others have called the "prime" timeline of Trek. That is to say, old Spock comes from (and, really, arrives in) a different universe than the Prime timeline anyway.

How do we know this?

1. Romulans from the Prime timeline have had ridges since at least the 2100s. And tattoos have never been observed as a Romulan normal trait, even among the civilians. Nero and the gang do not have ridges but do wear tatts and shave their heads. Ergo they are not our Romulans.

2. Even in the Supernova timeline, they give stardates just like they do in BH 2233, a modified timeline.

3. Supernova Spock is a pussy.

4. Supernova Spock's apparently now part of the Vulcan Science Academy (where was Starfleet when help was needed?!?!) with the rank of Ambassador (like Black Hole-Spock's father in this film, presumably) instead of hanging out with the reunification crowd. Sure, there's no telling what happened after Nemesis, but none of that makes much sense in the Prime timeline.

5. Supernova Spock says Scotty discovered transwarp beaming. Our Scotty never did that.

6. Supernova Spock had no apparent interest in McCoy's friendship, though his ought to have mattered as much as Kirk's.

7. We never saw any of Supernova Spock's past with Kirk via the mind meld, thus we have no way to know what the events were.

I could say that Spock recognizing people who look nothing like the TOS cast was proof, but I'm letting that slide.

There's also one other aspect.

Nero and the Narada go through the black hole first and the Narada arrives in 2233 in a revised Black Hole timeline.

Supernova Spock goes through the black hole last and arrives in the Black Hole timeline's BH 2258, meeting Nero.

But that doesn't make sense in a single-timeline universe. How could they be the same guys meeting in BH 2258?

After all, as soon as Nero fell in, the timeline ought to have changed. Thus the 2387 that existed after Nero's departure should've been one in which Nero arrived in 2233, fought the Kelvin, and then waited in vain for Spock, because there might not've been any black hole to fall into at that time. This is the Nero-Only Black Hole timeline.

Any Spock that arrived in BH 2258 thus ought to have appeared from the Nero-Only Black Hole timeline. Vulcan would have survived in this timeline because the red matter never arrived, and perhaps enough other details remained the same (e.g. Nero disappears somehow or other) to allow for Spock to be an Ambassador and with the Vulcan Science Academy in 2387, trying to save Romulus but pissing off a space trucker, and both wind up caught in the black hole.

You see the problem, though. Anytime Nero goes in first, we wind up with a NOBH-style timeline. So we somehow need Spock to be wrong about Nero going in first, because otherwise we never get Spock in the black hole. Otherwise it's like trying to go somewhere by traveling half the distance with each step.

We can presume that at some point Nero's ship goes in the black hole but is destroyed prior to time travel, or perhaps it arrives in NOBH on top of Nero's first ship (or vice versa), producing no other changes, and so bingo, no changes occur. We thus have a Nero and Spock from a NOBH, a timeline pre-modified for our convenience.

The alternative is that, instead, the movie's original 2387 timeline apparently persists for some number of seconds at minimum, at which point Spock falls in to the black hole and arrives in Nero's 2258.

But a timeline that persists after a timeline change without outside influence (the pocket of the Borg time vortex in First Contact, or the Guardian in City...) is no timeline at all, in the Trek rationale . . . that is a parallel universe. Certainly arrival from a mirror universe would explain things a bit better, such as why the Kelvin is such an odd vessel. It would also allow for the persistence of the Prime universe.

Either idea would allow for the stardate variation from the Supernova timeline.

Anyway, I'll ponder these issues more later, but for now it is making my brain hurt. Suffice it to say that they could've severely improved things by being more clear on that point . . . but given that they were making such a nonsensical universe anyway, I suppose they decided not to bother.

Perhaps I shouldn't either.




2009-05-06

Star Trek 2009: Uchronia?

The new Trek movie has not yet come out in the United States. However, there are enough clues to point to a plot revolving around a temporal incursion in Trek's early 23rd Century by (rogue?) Romulan forces from the late 24th. This temporal incursion, seemingly featuring massive changes to the timeline and significant changes to the Federation member world count, is apparently focused on James Tiberius Kirk.

Star Trek embraces the many-world hypothesis of parallel universes, but for the most part the actual time travel stories have suggested a single timeline which, when altered, reshapes the Trek fictional universe. Visitors from another universe to our universe with its altered timeline would thus find it in its altered state . . . it would not seem broken in any way. It would simply be what it was. If they wanted to find one more like the pre-altered one (were it possible for
them to know), they would simply keep going amongst the infinite universes until they found another one just like it.

However, per this spoiler-filled interview, it appears that the plot of the new film is somehow a bit confused. The writers based their dealings with the Trek lore on the many-worlds concept of parallel universes, but apparently somehow mixed this in with multiple timelines to wind up with the idea of "parallel timelines", which Robert Orci seems to use interchangably with the idea of "another universe".

Thus we end up with time travel that always causes us to find ourselves in a new universe. Orci suggests that someone from the late 24th Century will try to explain to mid-23rd Century Kirk what is going on and why he followed the rogue Romulan forces to the mid-23rd Century.

If such explanation is anything like Robert Orci's comments, though, the whole movie is forfeit. After all, if a new "parallel timeline" is formed as soon as you go back in time, you have effectively travelled into another universe. Who cares what happens there, really? So fine, rogue Romulan agents are crossing into parallel universes to erase parallel Starfleet officers. Even if they kill them all you'd never notice, so why chase after them?

But that chase, it seems, drives the plot of the film, based on the information available pre-release.

The end result is that the beautiful Jefferies Constitution, Shatner's Kirk, Picard, Sisko, and the gang all continue to exist in their own "parallel timeline", per Orci's idea, meaning that nothing we see in this film has any bearing on that "prime timeline" (borrowing the term from Anthony Pascale).

Finally, this new timeline probably diverges quite strongly from the old one, beyond having a Federation with people named Kirk and Spock and a ship named Enterprise. Consider that once you start messing with a temporal "menace" like Kirk, you also mess with all the temporal incursions he has made, and those that follow on. Many of the time travels of Kirk occurred to times well before his own birth.

Consider that for a moment. Go back in time and blow up Kirk's Enterprise as soon as it pulls out of Spacedock, for instance, and you not only change the 23rd Century but even the 20th ("Tomorrow is Yesterday", "The City on the Edge of Forever", "Assignment: Earth", and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). This would likely also alter the 24th Century, meaning Picard's Enterprise, meaning "Time's Arrow" . . . in which case the 19th Century is altered, not to mention the 21st and 22nd (First Contact and the related "Regeneration"[ENT]). But of course, at that point the 20th Century gets even more altered, thanks to "Past Tense"[DS9], "Little Green Men"[DS9], "Future's End"[VOY], and "Carpenter Street"[ENT].

While you could argue, per Orci, that each of those events created a different universe, it is clear from all those episodes that Trek lives in a universe where each of those events and changes occurred.

Sure, there are other avenues to consider, but these are the roads I'm going down. Thus, whereas we had an explicit reference from Scotty in "Mirror, Mirror" that the differences between the Enterprises were basically cosmetic (and hence that the tech data was useful), we have no such luxury here. As such, I cannot justify use of tech data from the new film, unless of course they explain things within it much differently than Orci did and the previews suggest.