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Old December 29 2012, 01:04 PM   #13
Re: Caseless Torpedoes

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.
We're dealing with antimatter containment here, so it might not be all that easy to make the "hot standby" sufficiently "cool" for comfort. Also, we do know the torpedoes in flight exhibit this strange glow that greatly reduces their tactical value, so clearly the glow cannot be eliminated with technology alone, not the way gunpowder can be made smokeless or muzzle flashes suppressed. Quite possibly, in order to fire a torpedo, you have to get it glowing inside its tube at least fifteen seconds before the intended launch. All the more reason for our heroic skippers to micromanage the "loading of torpedo bays" in every battle...

This goes well with the general trend of it being impossible to maintain a starship in fighting trim for any real length of time. Even in wartime, ships sail with shields down until clear and present danger presents itself. "Ready phasers!" is a necessary command even in the very middle of a prolonged fight. An infinite standby mode for torpedoes would be in contradiction with what we see!

This is fairly rare against shields, it seems to me (at least, in cases where shields are visible at all).
Indeed - but very common in cases where dialogue establishes the invisible shields as holding. "Call to Arms" is a trend-setter here.

OTOH, when torpedoes "harmlessly disappear" at shield impact, we are admittedly always dealing with bubble shields.

Why should we believe that a torpedo can be set for "Hiroshima" when the highest setting we ever see is "Oklahoma City"?
I don't see the objection here. We have seen torpedo yields vary from "flash-bang" to "geography-rearranging grapnel of Tsar Bombas"; furthermore, dialogue has established that the yield indeed is variable. No type of torpedo explosion should surprise us in the slightest. And all types should be well within the realm of the "actually" possible, too, as the witnessed torpedo casing offers a known volume of empty space (enough to hold a Klingon amazon), and efficiently annihilating that volume of suitable matter ought to nicely suffice for the biggest explosions yet witnessed.

Photon torpedoes are inherently contradiction-free weapons thanks to their variable yield and general controllability. No narrow audience expectation should ever trump this built-in flexibility.

[qujote]I'm still not convinced Kirk actually intended to shoot down Khan's torpedo, though. It'd be nice to think so, but doubtful.[/quote]

What alternative interpretations might exist? Kirk can't be talking about firing at Khan's ship, because nothing about that would be "too late"...

Timo Saloniemi
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