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Old December 29 2012, 02:01 AM   #12
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

Timo wrote: View Post
This doesn't go well with the fact that we sometimes see glowing balls of fire emerge from a launcher yet a physical projectile very definitely reaches the destination: Spock's coffin and the dud torpedo from "Starship Down" are examples of this.
Spock's coffin makes an interesting datapoint, IMO, considering the "torpedo" that launched him left a long visible trail all the way back to the launch tube and streaked into Genesis' atmosphere, something no torpedo has ever done before or since. It's especially telling since none of the OTHER torpedoes fired in the movie gave this kind of effect; thus, it's safe to assume that Spock's torpedo tube was highly unusual for torpedoes.

The same is equally true of the Jem'hadar torpedo from "Starship Down" which 1) leaves a visible "exhaust trail" as it flies and 2) only appears glowy because the casing glows. That gels nicely with the Narada's torpedoes, which likewise have glowy bits and leave exhaust trails but lack the distinctive glowy fireball appearance of traditional photon torpedoes.

So we have to rule out the "that's just the way missiles look in space" explanation. Photon torpedoes APPEAR to be something different; not quite a missile, but not quite an energy bolt. The middle ground -- some type of "photonic bolt" probably fits the bill; it's likely that security forcefields and deflector shields are related technologies too.

Might just be that when primed, they radiate considerable power, which not only has to be compensated for from the ship's supplies until the very launch, but will shine through most cloaks.
I have a hard time seeing how that would be the case, since both the warheads and the drive systems of a self-propelled missiles could be left on hot standby until the order is given to fire up and launch. That would seem to be an incredibly simple way of enabling fire-while-cloaked operation of the weapon systems.

Also of note is that hits by decidedly non-projectile weapons against shields cause "gasoline explosions", in DS9 and VOY and ENT at least, but also to some degree in TOS and TNG as well.
This is fairly rare against shields, it seems to me (at least, in cases where shields are visible at all). I won't even go in to the sudden and random non-existence of shields in the big DS9 battles (except to say that Conservation of Badass is hard at work there).

These "glowing balls of fire"/"flashes of light" may hide the fact that an actual antimatter explosion from a properly detonating torpedo is in fact a singularly unimpressive and often completely invisible, well, sight. Which it in reality might well be.
We've been over this before in different threads, but I'm again forced to ask the question: It doesn't look like a duck, doesn't quack like a duck, doesn't walk like a duck, doesn't even smell like a duck... so why should I believe it's a duck?

Dialog and tech manuals suggest that photon torpedoes employ antimatter warheads to produce explosions, but visuals and plot logic never EVER bear this out. Why should we believe that a torpedo can be set for "Hiroshima" when the highest setting we ever see is "Oklahoma City"?

4) Phasers can be used to shoot down missiles, rockets, fighters, shuttlecraft, even regular-ass normal torpedoes. But not, for some reason, PHOTON torpedoes.
Even in the oddly scaled visuals of Star Trek, photon torpedoes are significantly faster than the other objects quoted. That didn't stop Kirk from ordering a torpedo to be targeted in ST2:TWoK, though
I'm still not convinced Kirk actually intended to shoot down Khan's torpedo, though. It'd be nice to think so, but doubtful.
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