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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old September 13 2010, 01:41 AM   #1
Captrek
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The SPOF DEM

Of all dei ex machina, one of the laziest is inventing a single point of failure that allows an overwhelming adversary to be taken out by a small attack.

For example, in Enterprise S3, there is this network of thousands of enormous spheres that is making the Delphic Expanse dangerous for its inhabitants. What can anybody do about that? Then we’re told in the last two episodes of the season that attacking a single point on a single sphere can destroy all the spheres.

In FC, the Borg have overrun the Enterprise. How can they possibly be beaten back? No problem, just kill the Queen and they all die. Similarly, the Cube in the first act was destroyed by focusing the entire attack on a single point, which was explicitly ruled out in BOBW.

Note that a single point of failure doesn’t have to be a deus ex machina if it’s properly set up. For example, the Death Star in Star Wars is taken out by a pair of proton torpedos, but this was set up from the beginning of the movie. The whole story is motivated by the idea that the information stored in R2D2 might identify such a vulnerability in the Death Star.

So, what are some of the worst SPOF DEMs in Trek?
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Old September 13 2010, 09:43 AM   #2
The_Baron
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Re: The SPOF DEM

"If we can destroy Annorax's temporal weapon ship, it might restore the timeline!"
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Old September 13 2010, 01:45 PM   #3
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Re: The SPOF DEM

I'm sorry it's not Trek, but when I saw Independence Day in the theatre once they attacked the first big ship and Harry Connick Jr said they have shields...I knew how that whole movie would play out.
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Old September 13 2010, 11:40 PM   #4
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Re: The SPOF DEM

So, wait. Shooting a torpedo from the very outer hull of a space station with two shots and obliterating it completely is BETTER than having to be in the core of the Borg and having to make a gambit potentially fatal to your leader to kill theirs?
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Old September 14 2010, 12:17 AM   #5
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Re: The SPOF DEM

RyuRoots wrote: View Post
So, wait. Shooting a torpedo from the very outer hull of a space station with two shots and obliterating it completely is BETTER than having to be in the core of the Borg and having to make a gambit potentially fatal to your leader to kill theirs?
The issue is not which SPOF is more mechanically plausible or more difficult to exploit. The difference is whether the lazy-ass writers introduce this DEM at the end of the story.

The Death Star’s SPOF is not a DEM because we are told at the beginning of the film that the Rebels have technical data that might identify such a vulnerability, and everything the heroes do in that film is done to get that information into the right hands so that vulnerability can be identified and exploited.

That’s not the case with FC. Part of what made the Borg such an imposing foe is that we’re told way back in BOBW1 that you can’t stop a Borg Cube just by damaging a small but critical part of it, because Borg design precludes those SPOFs. Then as soon as the movie plot requires a Borg Cube to be swiftly defeated, that defining trait of the Borg is simply forgotten.

In fact, the first time we meet the Borg Queen we see her body being assembled. That, combined with the nature of the Borg as they were described in the TV series, suggests that this body is just a tool for the distributed “Queen consciousness” to interact with a physical environment, and that in the case of the destruction of that body another could be created. When the destruction of that body in the end turns out to kill not only the Queen but all the Borg, it violates what the TV series had told us about the Borg, it’s a SPOF that has not been set up well, and it feels like a major cheat.
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Old September 14 2010, 10:11 AM   #6
captcalhoun
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Re: The SPOF DEM

killing the Borg queen wasn't what done in the Borg, it was cracking the plasma tanks and liquifying their organic components.

which was what we were told about an hour earlier when Picard and Data are in the armoury.
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Old September 14 2010, 10:50 AM   #7
The_Baron
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Re: The SPOF DEM

Then how did it kill the borg that weren't in Engineering?
They were all over the ship, surely, unless all the drones were killed by the plasma - which is very very unlikely, then the crew would have had one hell of a fight on their hands to take back the Enterprise from the rest of the Borg, who weren't in Engineering at the time. (which, would probably be the majority, seeing how many there were on the ship), the overwhelming odds was what forced Picard to order the evacuation of the ship in the first place.,...
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Old September 14 2010, 01:47 PM   #8
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Re: The SPOF DEM

The queen brings order to disorder, with her death there was resulting disorder. the whole idea of a "collective" is a work of fiction, the drones are the slaves of the queen, without her direction, the slave likely just wandered about the ship, all but bumping into the walls.

They could have been stunned now, or hyposprayed, and parked in a convenient cargo hold. The recently assimilated Enterprise crew would have been dis-assimilated, and many of the borg who initially board the ship as well.

In the 22nd century, Earth likely would have been out of "range" of any other borg queens located in the delta quadrant.

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Old September 14 2010, 02:28 PM   #9
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Re: The SPOF DEM

21st century!

And that all still comes down to "The Borg were defeated because the queen was taken out".

- This said, that still doesn't tie in with why the Borg in Enterprise were able to function without a Queen
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Old September 14 2010, 06:19 PM   #10
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Re: The SPOF DEM

The_Baron wrote: View Post
- This said, that still doesn't tie in with why the Borg in Enterprise were able to function without a Queen
There have been other groups of drones that have been shown to be able to operate at a distance from major Collective control points, though with difficulty, such as Hugh and that time in Voyager that flashbacked to when Seven and a few other drones were the few survivors from a crashed sphere.
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Old September 14 2010, 09:15 PM   #11
captcalhoun
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Re: The SPOF DEM

and 'One'
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Old September 14 2010, 09:53 PM   #12
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Re: The SPOF DEM

From TNG's The Hunted:

"Explosion in Jefferies tube section T nine five. All external sensors inoperative."
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