We’re living a sequel to “The Proteus Operation”

“The Proteus Operation” is a time travel/alternate history novel by James P Hogan.  The basic plot- History through World War I proceeds as normal.  In the aftermath, though, it really becomes the war to end all wars.  Peace and prosperity is established worldwide by 2020.

Spoilers for the overall plot of the book, though few highly specific details.
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George Kirk returning in Star Trek 4?

There are rumors that George Kirk will return in some form in Star Trek 4.
Flashbacks seem to be the expected way, but…
Narada was originally a mining ship, but she was refit by the Tal Shiar with Borg technology. Unclear if it was reverse engineered designs or actual salvaged equipment, if the latter… Well, there’s some potential.
So the Tal’shiar installs salvaged Borg equipment on Narada. Not fully understanding how everything works, they don’t realize they are installing assimilation equipment along with the weapons or shield generators, or do and can’t figure out how to disentangle it from what they want to install. But they figure it’s not going to assimilate anyone without a command to do so, so what does it matter if it’s sitting there?  Narada is a huge ship, they have the space.
Flash forward(backward?) to the battle with USS Kelvin. George Kirk crashes Kelvin into Narada. Now, this is assumed to kill him straight away, but perhaps he survives… albeit critically injured. The Borg equipment misinterprets the injured Kirk as a severely damaged drone, and emergency protocols activate to repair the drone.
George Kirk as the Kelvin timeline Locutus. Perhaps a few other drones from other critically wounded Kelvin crew and maybe a few Narada crew near the damaged sections.
It’s a path to bringing in the Borg to this timeline.
This could seem iffy right after another hive mind type of enemy- the Swarm from Beyond- but they could present that Swarm as a precursor to the Borg. I’ve had the thought that it could have been an early version of the Collective tech, and Altamid the homeworld of the original Borg. If they make this canon, and follow it up with a Borgified George Kirk, that could be pretty cool IMO and maybe even make Beyond the second best movie of the reboot.  The experience against the Swarm might also open up ways the relatively less advanced Kelvin timeline Federation might stand a chance against a Borg invasion.
They’d need a clever way to get these drones off Narada rather than using it to assimilate the galaxy, but that shouldn’t be too hard.  Perhaps the assimilation equipment isn’t complete, and their full array of defensive equipment isn’t available, so the Naradas crew would beat them silly?  So they steal a shuttlecraft and go somewhere to contact the main Collective and gear up for an invasion.

Star Trek III and War Crimes.

Kirks “surrender” in Star Trek III would be a war crime in a modern war.
Scuttling the ship is one thing. You don’t have to let the enemy take your stuff when you surrender. Scuttling with enemy boarders aboard is also OK to prevent capture of the ship.
But surrendering with the intent of luring enemy personnel aboard when you scuttle, so that you can more easily capture their ship for your own use, is a flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions. Surrender is a way to end hostilities, not a battle tactic.
Kirk might be able to try to play a technicalities game in that there wasn’t a signed instrument of surrender, but even if he could establish having followed the letter of the law, he certainly didn’t follow the spirit.
The Klingons should have added war crimes charges to the charges of assassinating Gorkon in Star Trek VI.  It’s understandable that they might have considered it diplomatically infeasible to push extradition too hard in Star Trek IV, but they had him in custody in VI.  War crimes charges couldn’t be so easily dismissed, because he actually did do it even if he had some technicality to minimize liability.

Torchwood Relaunch idea?

I have a fantasy for a Torchwood relaunch.
 
The Doctor pops into the reactor control room right before Owen’s body is destroyed, gets him out of there. And maybe through some Time Lord superscience properly fixes him(or not- though I think involving the Sisterhood of Karn might have the right feel for Torchwood). Moffatt is on record as being against The Doctor showing up on Torchwood.. but he’s also on record as not wanting to bring The Master back. Moffatt lies, and can be overruled by BBC execs even when he’s being honest.
 
Then, perhaps, wanting to give Tosh a proper burial, Owen tries to locate her remains. Reviewing reports about the explosion, there’s no sign that her remains were recovered and no detection of her DNA at the site to indicate obliteration. Her body is gone. Owen hypothesizes that it was thrown via the rift to somewhere else, launches a search, gets Jack and Gwen back in the game to help… then they find her, alive due to some combo of rift weirdness and/or Jacks blood(which is known to have regenerative properties in normal humans).
 
With the team back together, a proper Season 3 can begin.
 
Ianto is probably gone, reversing all deaths just wouldn’t be Torchwood and his had the strongest emotional impact on the team. It would undercut too much of what happened in the aftermath. Though teasing with an apparent return or a Pet Semetary type “resurrection” story might have potential.

Flight: World War II

There are certain expectations one has when watching an Asylum film. Terrible writing, terrible acting, terrible special effects, all connections the story has to actual reality being laughably wrong, all wrapped up in a package that takes itself utterly seriously.
 
Flight: World War II has the Asylum name on it, but I can’t help but think that Asylum had purchased a complete film that simply needed to be distributed. Everything is far and above better than typical Asylum standards. This wouldn’t make for a summer blockbuster that stood a chance in theaters, I mean, Asylum felt it was worth putting their name on it so there is an upper limit to quality here. But it may well be the best film they’ve ever released.
 
The major anachronisms in the time travel plot were briefly explained. Well enough that it didn’t bug the hell out of me seeing ME262s in squadron strength in 1940(the characters even assumed the first couple they saw must have been prototypes because of course a historian would think that), though a deeper exploration of that might have been interesting.
 
Aviation emergency operations were surprisingly well done. Call for help, divide up responsibilities, that sort of thing. This did break down in the back half, but they were dealing with a completely unprecedented series of events so they had to improvise. Apart from that segment of the film, most of the inaccuracies here appear to be simplifications to keep the plot moving along rather than outright getting things wrong.
 
Special effects- Assuming Asylum actually produced this one(I haven’t researched) rather than just put their name on it, this, given the talent their special effects typically show, would blow their effects budget for the next decade. They were clearly low budget(though possibly less so than usual), but with a good team behind them.
 
Writing was unusually good, and they seem to have hired actual actors this time around. And it didn’t have the vibe you get from most Asylum films where they clearly think they are making Oscar worthy material.

The Illegitimacy of Aragorn’s Claim to the Throne, and why I think they’d have made him King anyways

Good points. Unless Gondor changed its succession law after the fall of Arnor(and there is nothing I’m aware of to suggest they did), Aragorn has no claim to their throne. By the time Aragorn arrived in Minas Tirith, there were probably dozens, at least, of people with a much more recent relation to the last king of Gondor.
 
Aragorn might have been able to make a claim to Arnor, saying that the line of kings long absence from actually running things was more akin to a government in exile than a tacit abdication, or that when the last king abdicated his successor would immediately be king. But Gondor? No.
 
That said, it still might have been done. There’d likely be a few nobles that would complain about the breach in succession law, but I could see the Gondor parliamThe Toast’s Middle-earth correspondent courts controversy as he explains why Aragorn’s claim to the throne of Gondor was shaky at best.

ent or cabinet or whatever similar body going with Aragorn.

 
While there would be some people with a closer link to the previous dynasty, we don’t hear about them. It seems unlikely they’ve shown major leadership potential or otherwise qualified themselves as king in anything but bloodline. And here’s Aragorn. Blood claim to the throne vanishingly weak, but he shows up as Minas Tirith is about to fall. He gets the immediate situation stabilized with respect to civil order. He rallys Gondors army, and brings in thousands of reinforcements including a literal angel. He successfully holds the line against the forces of Sauron until the One Ring can be destroyed and the war decisively won.
 
OF COURSE Gondor would make him King, with the remaining legitimate authorities making whatever legal changes they have to to make it happen.
 
Oh, who would have been the chief executive had Aragorn not claimed the throne? The Steward. Faramir.  Who was alive at the time. I’d expect his opinion on whether or not Aragorn should be King would carry a lot of weight, and possibly even the force of law to some extent.

 

World of Warcraft declining subscriptions

Been thinking a little about the declining WoW subscriber base. I’ve seen a few reports down in the 2 million range, the last official count I recall seeing was around 4 million. Which is still huge for a pay MMO, but it hasn’t been that low since a few months after launch. I started in classic, Ahn Qiraj wasn’t even a thing yet(the war effort started like a week after I started playing), and I don’t think the numbers were as low as they are now.

One thing that has always boosted subs is a new expansion.  Last time it went over 10 million was shortly after Warlords of Draenor released.  But those boosts don’t last.  If they could maintain them longer, things might be better.

Blizzard has said many times that they want more frequent expansions.  Back around BC IIRC, they said they wanted 1/year, and that… hasn’t happened.  They are unwilling to compromise quality enough to meet that timeline.  What they could do, I think, is design expansions with a smaller scope.

Exactly how they’d achieve this, I’m not sure.  Basic systems updates are always part of a free patch, because otherwise the game wouldn’t work at all for people.  They can’t really cut any of that out.  Cutting the amount of content could be dicey but perhaps achievable?

Maybe they can split off new races/classes into their own expansion, with the content as a separate one?  For instance, have a Demon Hunter expansion that lets you play Demon Hunters, but you don’t get any of the quests, dungeons or raids from Legion?  And then a Legion War expansion, where you get the quests, raids, dungeons and so on but no Demon Hunter?  This would allow them to release these two expansions on their own schedule.  Demon Hunters wouldn’t be held up because some raid boss in Legion is a problem and vice versa.  This should help with a faster turnaround cycle.  Or structure the technical architecture so that a dungeon that is being a PITA to debug can be more easily put in later as a content patch or a Legion 2.0 expansion?

Obviously they’d have to reduce the expansion pricing to account for each expansion having less content than they have in the past.  But this really could help.  The hardcore players will buy it all, regardless, assuming the cost isn’t much larger.  More casual or cash strapped players might just buy the content patches if they are happy with existing races and classes, making it more likely they’ll maintain their subscriptions if they don’t have to pay for new classes they’d never play.  And the more frequent expansions might do better at maintaining the post expansion excitement and subscriber boost.