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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Deep Space Nine

Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old September 25 2012, 09:03 AM   #1
Mr_Homn
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Why were ships so fragile in DS9

Why were ships so fragile in ds9? Why were shields forgotten anytime it was convenient to the plot?

For example, the klingon ships in this video are being destroyed like they are made of paper-mache:




You see klingon ships being destroyed in ONE phaser shot. No shields. No defense. One simple phaser shot that doesn't even last a second, and an entire ship full of klingons perish. That's silly. It seems like a really lazy way of conveying star trek battles for the sake of "ooooooh big pretty 'splosions"

It's a good thing deep space nine has so many great stories and characters, because the space battles were often very ridiculous.
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Old September 25 2012, 09:21 AM   #2
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

Before I get flamed I want to clarify that I am enjoying deep space nine a GREAT deal on my first full viewing. But some of these battles are really stretching my suspense of disbelief.
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Old September 25 2012, 09:29 AM   #3
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

It could be a case that Starfleet had upgraded their weapons by this time and Klingon shields were no match for them.
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Old September 25 2012, 10:05 AM   #4
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

In the case of the Dominion, there was an explanation. Dominion weapons could penetrate Starfleet shields, as was mentioned in a number of episodes.

In the case of battles between Alpha Quadrant powers, there's really no on-screen explanation. Maybe the Klingons were diverting their shield power to their weapons to bring down the station's heavy shielding.
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Old September 25 2012, 01:53 PM   #5
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

I guess ships that are not specifically identified, like people, tend to get the 'red-shirt' treatment

In addition, other aspects of space battles in Trek are silly: Ships make huge bank turns in order to change course when, with their technology, they should be able to simply flip around; ships in battle should also be able to jump to and fro quickly instead of plodding around like whales while fleets have this strange determination to fly same-side up as everyone else; I just suspend disbelief and pretend they're all flying around in an atmosphere since they seem to think so. I also assume that ships crewed by named characters have special "important main cast" shielding.

Last edited by grabthars hammer; September 25 2012 at 02:10 PM.
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Old September 25 2012, 02:44 PM   #6
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

Dramatic effect, mostly. And the technology behind the scenes improving.

The shield bubbles of TNG were cheap and affordable in he late 80's/early 90's. They couldnt go repainting and damaging the models every time a ship took a hit. With late 90's CG, thats easy. So they dropped the bubbles and showed us the far more visceral sight of gigantic starships carving each other up with death rays.
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Old September 25 2012, 03:20 PM   #7
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

grabthars hammer wrote: View Post
In addition, other aspects of space battles in Trek are silly: Ships make huge bank turns in order to change course when, with their technology, they should be able to simply flip around; ships in battle should also be able to jump to and fro quickly instead of plodding around like whales...
It's possible that too sharp a turn or change in direction temporarily overwhelms the inertia dampers and could be harmful to the crew (lots of broken bones, nausea, even death to some).

In battle, wide sweeping turns may also be a way to avoid getting hit by enemy fire. A vessel may be able to spin on a dime and change its orientation, but if it's still in the line of fire, it may be better for a vessel to execute a wide bank turn and become a harder moving target to hit.
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Old September 25 2012, 03:30 PM   #8
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
It could be a case that Starfleet had upgraded their weapons by this time and Klingon shields were no match for them.
Plus the Klingons were fighting a Starbase here so DS9 likely has way more powerful weapons than a ship would usually have.
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Old September 25 2012, 03:36 PM   #9
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

I tend to give a pass to DS9 on their effects solely because they always did have a solid story backing them. That was always more important to me than the effects. DS9 wasn't in the habit of compensating for lack of creative story writing with effects like VOY and ENT.
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Old September 25 2012, 05:19 PM   #10
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

It's likely that the ships we saw being destroyed so easily had already taken some damage, possibly from their invasion of Cardassia but almost certainly from the first barrage of fire from the station itself. The station unleashes a massive amount of torpedo fire very quickly and it's several seconds before it cuts to any ships actually being destroyed...and that's mainly just from the vantage point of a small handful of launchers. The station had many such launchers and was firing bursts of torpedoes almost nonstop from half of them.

When Sisko finally orders the switch to phasers, it's likely that a good number of the ships in range of the station had already taken at least some damage. Those BoP that were taken out with one phaser shot had likely taken heavy torpedo damage already.

Granted none of the ships appear to be damaged in the least before being blown apart, to say nothing of their apparent lack of any defensive shielding. But there was simply too much weapons fire coming from the station to assume that when we saw a ship being destroyed after taking one or two shots, that in fact those were the first hits they had taken.

And as others have said, the station would be sporting larger starbase grade weapons. The mere fact that the stations torpedo launchers were firing so rapidly lends credence to this. And while no one said as much on screen, given the technological superiority of the Federation and their alliance with the Klingons, it stands to reason that Starfleet would know how to exploit whatever advantages might be available against the Klingon ships, just as Riker and Data knew in Generations to exploit the age/weakness of the BoP attacking the Enterprise. (though the mere fact that Riker and Worf allowed the BoP to inflict such severe damage to the Enterprise, is beyond negligence and neither of them should be allowed to step foot on a Starfleet ship again, even after they get out of jail...but that's a topic for another time.)
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Old September 25 2012, 06:15 PM   #11
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

I hope this isn't too off-topic, but do fragile ships make for better story telling and drama than durable ships? On one hand, battles can be quite exciting and have quite the emotional impact if the ship is left limping after winning a battle. But on the other hand, it is much more tense if battles are more like sieges, where tactics and teamwork play out over a longer period of time.
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Old September 25 2012, 07:43 PM   #12
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

DS9 has done several good siege-themed episodes, but those have tended to be land based. Most of DS9's major space battles fall into arc-important episodes where there are several ongoing storyline to balance. That doesn't leave a whole lot of time to do a Balance of Terror-style battle. They simply couldn't do a drawn out battle without adding extra episodes and diluting the story.
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Old September 25 2012, 10:39 PM   #13
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

There were also some other tricks DS9 pulled; The size of ships got scaled down from TNG.

The average Klingon Bird of Prey used to be the same size as the Enterprise, but in DS9, they were size shrunk to about half its size.

I think one reason was to make battle scenes look more exciting from the outside. In TNG, ship battles used to be real slow and clunky with the shield bubbles and all.

Compare Yesterday's Enterprise to WOTW OR SOA, and you can see the difference.

But I think TNG had the best bridge suspense battle scenes.
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Old September 25 2012, 10:57 PM   #14
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

That's not a trick, at least not one that DS9 invented, though they're as guilty of it as any of the other series. The size of the Bird of Prey has fluctuated wildly since it first appeared, often seeming to appear as a small scout escort vessel and then jumping in size to a full cruiser. The BoP actually started out small and was scaled up as time went on.

http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/articles/bop-size.htm

It's now assumed that there are multiple classes of Bird of Prey, with the B'rel serving as the small scout/escort and the K'Vort serving as the larger cruiser.
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Old September 25 2012, 11:01 PM   #15
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Re: Why were ships so fragile in DS9

Could it be simply that Fed weapons are VERY powerful indeed. But they just tend to "pull punches". However, Sisko being the badass he is goes for broke. Plus i believe those big phaser bars were in fact planet based units welded to the hull.
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