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Old October 25 2012, 04:25 AM   #88
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

TheRoyalFamily wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post

Heck, they went and wiped out the Tribble homeworld. The harmless Tribbles!
There are no words in the Klingon language to describe just how much they HATE tribbles. That one campaign alone probably required decades of systematic asteroid bombardment, not to mention the warriors needed to hunt the little bastards across the galaxy to the last one.
While the Great Tribble Hunt is indeed worthy of song, it's more the Hunt than the destroying the Tribble homeworld. According to the TNG technical manual, a single photon torpedo can carry 1.5 kg of antimatter. Just a regular explosion with that would be almost 65 MT - Tsar Bomba was only 50 MT - but due to sci-fi magic the explosion can be more like 100 cubic meters of liquid antideuterium, which works out to be about 690 GT.

In one torpedo.
I don't buy that, though. For one thing, getting the matter and antimatter to fully annihilate instantly is going to be an interesting technical trick, you literally have to get every single particle and antiparticle to annihilate simultaneously, at the exact same instant, or else the energy release will interfere with the paths of its neighbors, irradiating and possibly ejecting them before they can find their anti-partner. Even more importantly, only electrons and positrons annihilate to produce x-rays; depending on the energy carried by those electrons, that could mean a blast of hard x-rays, which would filter through hundreds of miles of dense atmosphere irradiating everything without actually producing an explosion. There's also the fact that heavier particles will produce even more exotic products when they annihilate in addition to hard x-rays and some gamma rays.

In the end, if torpedoes were anywhere near as powerful as they're depicted, Trek combat would look very different than it does. The fact that deflector shields can shrug off torpedo strikes dozens at a time suggests that either ionizing radiation just isn't that dangerous in the Trekiverse (and therefore is easily mitigated for a planet with modern infrastructure) or photon torpedoes don't REALLY work that way.

Even disregarding the secondary source, the opening volley from the Tal Shiar/Obsidian Order fleet in "The Die Is Cast Pt.2" destroyed 30% of the surface of the planet they were attacking, and that wasn't a particularly large fleet by military standards (both organizations not being military, technically). Making an undefended planet uninhabitable seems almost trivial.
It's attacking a DEFENDED planet that's at issue here. It's a foregone conclusion that the Dominion could have intercepted the Rom-Dassian fleet any time they wanted to -- indeed, the entire attack was their idea in the first place -- and if they really wanted to defend their homeworld, the battle would have had a very different dynamic. The thing is, they didn't want to defend it, they wanted the Rom-Dassian fleet to get within firing range, probably close enough to the planet that the Jem'hadar could use its gravitational field to box them in and prevent them from escaping. They didn't want to REPEL that fleet, they wanted to SLAUGHTER it.

If we keep that in the canon, it's the exception that proves the rule: even in a world without FTL sensors, the only time you ever discover your enemy's homeworld totally undefended is when you're walking into an ambush.
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