Dale Sams wrote:
My fanwank for why Excalibur lost its entire crew without the ship going kablooey in "The Ultimate Computer" was that M5 got a lucky hit on life support.
Of all the technobabble plot holes that pop up in Star Trek over the years, this is the one that irritates me the most. I would explain why, but I found a dialog a few years ago that does this nicely.
DATA: Captain, we've just lost life support.
PICARD: Oh? Did Doctor Crusher have someone in the ICU?
DATA: No, Sir, I mean the life support system for the entire ship.
PICARD: The entire ship
DATA: Yes sir.
PICARD: You mean that this giant space ship that has 42 decks and is half a mile long has exactly ONE self-contained life support system for all one thousand people on board, and that that life support system has now failed?
PICARD: How could that happen?
DATA: Apparently that one system is very big and complicated, because we sometimes draw power away from it to boost our shields and weapons.
PICARD: But why? What it does it actually do?
DATA: It keeps us alive, Sir.
DATA: I assume the same way as a life support system in the intensive care unit at the hospital.
PICARD: You mean it breathes for us and regulates our blood flow, keeping us alive artificially?
DATA: Yes, Sir. It evidently does this for every man woman and child on board the ship, which is why we all begin to pass out and die within five minutes if it is ever deactivated.
PICARD: That's absurd!
DATA: No, Sir. That's plot device.