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Old December 29 2012, 08:28 PM   #19
Re: Caseless Torpedoes

when have we ever SEEN that high-yield Tsar Bomba setting?
At least the "Skin of Evil" blast is quite geographic in scale, even if we assume the smallest possible perfectly spherical planet and ignore surface gravity as a size-suggesting factor. It's also a classic example of a "demolition shot", a torpedo fired with the full knowledge that the target will not try to dodge.

Similarly, a single torpedo finishes off the Lantree, which is in no way in contradiction of the idea that it takes lots of torps to defeat a starship in battle. If yield is variable, then minimum yield is probably a good choice as long as the enemy dodges; when she's crippled enough that hits will be assured, it's time to pack more of the precious antimatter into the warheads.

Except that for the kinds of detonations we USUALLY see, we'd be looking at a torpedo primed with not more than a couple of miligrams of antimatter
We "usually" see either hits against shields (which tell nothing about torpedo destructive power as such) or hits against geography (which look incredibly impressive, say, in "The Die is Cast").

But the timing is off. By the time Kirk actually orders "all power to phasers" Khan's torpedo has already launched and is heading straight for them. If he meant to use the phasers as point defense he clearly didn't have that specific torpedo in mind when he gave the order, so it really could go either way IMO.
Hmm... I always saw that as the best proof that Kirk specifically wanted to target the torp. Judging by the timing, Kirk's decision to use phasers is prompted by the approach of the torpedo, not by the (as such existing, but temporally more diffuse) general threat of Khan being capable of firing stuff at them.

Of course, Kirk is only slowly coming to grips with the fact that the shields will never be raised, not with the damage and the panic in at Engineering. A generic decision to reallocate power might be expected standard procedure. But Sulu seems to be thinking in different terms. (Perhaps he's misunderstanding Kirk's intentions, or seeing intention where there is only the aimless confusion of a has-been?)

Timo Saloniemi
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