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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old October 17 2012, 01:39 PM   #31
blssdwlf
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Timo wrote: View Post
One argument in favor of many if not most of the Excalibur crew surviving is that we don't know of any mechanism by which phasers could kill the crew of a starship while leaving the ship visibly intact.
Depends on "visibly intact" but we we do have two examples.

"The Wrath of Khan". Phasers at low power and close-range left scorch marks (at the weakest) and shallow cuts which would be difficult to make out at the size Excalibur was displayed at in the original FX. In TWOK, these shallow/light phaser hits with shields down resulted in alot of internal damage with casualties. It is very possible that full phasers at medium to long range can cause massive internal damage without significant visible damage. Full phasers at close range would result in instant destruction, as seen in "Day of the Dove".

And IIRC, in "Basics" the backup phasers were overloaded and discharged inside Voyager, stunning the Kazon crew in one go from the inside of the ship and through the bulkheads.

As to whether there could be some survivors on the Excalibur, it would depend on how much time Wesley's surviving ships had to beam off the survivors before they retreated out of Enterprise's phaser range. It doesn't seem like any shuttles were launched or people left via some sort of escape capsules as that would have likely been mentioned. And as pointed out, M5 is smart enough to detect the level of destruction it has wreaked.

Regarding difficulty scanning for life forms in TOS:
"The Doomsday Machine" - we are told of heavy subspace interference.
"For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" - it is possible that the Fabrini outer shell prevented accurate detection of life or Fabrini don't register as normal life signs.

However, scanning another ship like the Constitution shouldn't be too hard and there were no external sources of interference. M5 should've gotten an easy look at Excalibur, IMHO.
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Old October 17 2012, 03:06 PM   #32
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

"The Wrath of Khan". Phasers at low power and close-range left scorch marks (at the weakest) and shallow cuts which would be difficult to make out at the size Excalibur was displayed at in the original FX.
...But the casualties were apparently limited to the spaces directly affected by the shallow cuts. To reproduce these effects in large enough scale to kill the total crew of a Constitution class vessel, M5 would need to hit basically every square meter of the surface, and even that would only get the people in the outer parts of the ship.

And IIRC, in "Basics" the backup phasers were overloaded and discharged inside Voyager, stunning the Kazon crew in one go from the inside of the ship and through the bulkheads.
I had forgotten all about the nuances of that trick. But it would seem to be an internal power surge type of affair, rather than something directly relating to the properties of phasers. That is, it could have been the backup shield generator power couplings that were sabotaged, too. Or the backup holodeck power couplings. The result would have been the same. And it still wasn't lethal for all the Kazon...

Incidentally, how did Kirk know to ask M5 to scan whether there was life aboard the hurt ship? He had not had the chance to do any scans himself, and the radio chatter had not revealed particularly extensive casualties. If M5 truthfully answered "25 people dead, 402 alive", Kirk's accusations of murder would sound hollow, as his question was about absolutes.

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Old October 18 2012, 05:00 AM   #33
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Why did all the people on board have to die for Kirk to be right? As long as even one were killed, M5 still murdered them, and thus (according to its own logic) would have to die as well.
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Old October 18 2012, 05:28 AM   #34
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

TheRoyalFamily wrote: View Post
Why did all the people on board have to die for Kirk to be right? As long as even one were killed, M5 still murdered them, and thus (according to its own logic) would have to die as well.
I completely agree with this.

But my position, which I realize that some disagree with, is that these lines imply that all hands on the Excalibur were killed by M5:

The Ultimate Computer wrote:
KIRK: [...] Scan the starship Excalibur, which you destroyed. Is there life aboard?
M5: No life.
KIRK: Because you murdered it. [...]
I believe that if the M5 hadn't killed all hands, then it would have been obliged to contradict Kirk's assertion, which was that the reason there was no life aboard Excalibur was because it was murdered by M5.

If survivors had beamed to another starship, or escaped in a lifeboat or shuttlecraft, then M5 would have had to have said something like:
M5: Incorrect. This unit did not murder all life aboard starship Excalibur. Some life is absent for other reasons. One hundred seventeen personnel were beamed aboard starship Hood. Forty seven other personnel evacuated on shuttlecraft which are now boarding flagship Lexington.
Naturally, at that point, Kirk would continue with his point that some were murdered, and the M5 would have probably shut itself down anyway. But the M5 offered no such contradiction.
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Old October 18 2012, 06:55 AM   #35
Timo
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Why did all the people on board have to die for Kirk to be right?
The issue here is two-sided. The M5 side of the argument is covered above. The other side is that Kirk painted himself in a corner of sorts by asking M5 whether there is "life" aboard the ship. If M5 says "yes", then this does not conveniently lead to the conclusion that M5 has committed murder. Sure, it has decreased the number of lifesigns, but the answer of "yes" does not make it feel pangs of guilt like an answer of "no" would.

Why does Kirk ask in terms of absolutes? He has no way of knowing whether there are survivors aboard the ship, apart from his professional expertise. Perhaps he knows that the types of hits M5 scored are lethal to the entire crew, even though nowhere else in Star Trek do we witness phasers having such an effect on an unshielded ship?

So there are two reasons to think all lives were lost - the wording chosen by Kirk, and the failure of M5 to talk back. But there are two reasons to think the opposite - the failure of Wesley to indicate anything of the sort, and the lack of mechanisms by which M5 could have achieved the result.

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Old October 18 2012, 07:24 AM   #36
T'Girl
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Wingsley wrote: View Post
what looks like a huge radiation flash
Timo wrote: View Post
his professional expertise
Those two things combined are likely how Kirk knew that the entire crew of the Excalibur had been killed. Kirk would know exactly what the Enterprise's weapons were capable of.

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Old October 18 2012, 07:58 AM   #37
blssdwlf
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Timo wrote: View Post
"The Wrath of Khan". Phasers at low power and close-range left scorch marks (at the weakest) and shallow cuts which would be difficult to make out at the size Excalibur was displayed at in the original FX.
...But the casualties were apparently limited to the spaces directly affected by the shallow cuts. To reproduce these effects in large enough scale to kill the total crew of a Constitution class vessel, M5 would need to hit basically every square meter of the surface, and even that would only get the people in the outer parts of the ship.
Well, based on the one visual where we see a phaser hit on the Excalibur (prior to it going "dead") the blue blast (original FX) takes up almost all of the facing surface area. It appears that at medium to long range the beam spreads a bit. Since it was a full powered shot and not a low powered shot, we could also argue that the phaser beam penetrated straight through the ship, causing massive internal damage and/or killing most of the crew.

Timo wrote: View Post
And IIRC, in "Basics" the backup phasers were overloaded and discharged inside Voyager, stunning the Kazon crew in one go from the inside of the ship and through the bulkheads.
I had forgotten all about the nuances of that trick. But it would seem to be an internal power surge type of affair, rather than something directly relating to the properties of phasers. That is, it could have been the backup shield generator power couplings that were sabotaged, too. Or the backup holodeck power couplings. The result would have been the same. And it still wasn't lethal for all the Kazon...
Regardless of it being lethal, it was that it managed to propagate through the entire ship. Granted, it's probably different phaser technologies at work though.

Timo wrote: View Post
Incidentally, how did Kirk know to ask M5 to scan whether there was life aboard the hurt ship? He had not had the chance to do any scans himself, and the radio chatter had not revealed particularly extensive casualties. If M5 truthfully answered "25 people dead, 402 alive", Kirk's accusations of murder would sound hollow, as his question was about absolutes.
My guess is that because Kirk knew the Excalibur suffered a direct hit and saw the 2nd direct phaser hit with the large flash area he guessed that if the Excalibur looked dead from Sulu's report that everyone was either dead or dying. As a former weapons officer, he'd probably be extra familiar with phaser capabilities...
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Old October 18 2012, 08:04 AM   #38
blssdwlf
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Timo wrote: View Post
Perhaps he knows that the types of hits M5 scored are lethal to the entire crew, even though nowhere else in Star Trek do we witness phasers having such an effect on an unshielded ship?
Well what other times have we seen a ship fire full phasers at medium to long range into another equivalent ship with shields down?
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Old October 18 2012, 08:17 AM   #39
Timo
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

the phaser beam penetrated straight through the ship, causing massive internal damage and/or killing most of the crew
...But not by the Wrath of Khan mechanism, because that one involved actual physical cuts in the hull. If the entire Excalibur were covered in such cuts, she'd be torn apart.

Granted, it's probably different phaser technologies at work though.
Is it "phaser technologies" at all, when a power coupling sends the burst? We could say that M5 hurt a comparable power coupling that then sent a deadly burst from within the Excalibur, but that's not something Kirk could discern from looking at M5 firing.

As a former weapons officer, he'd probably be extra familiar with phaser capabilities...
Gotta nitpick this one: him crewing a "phaser station" in "Obsession" was related to firing at the vampire cloud, which would probably involve hand phasers rather than ship phasers. He might be a weapons officer, or he might be a security goon overseeing a major planetside operation from a hilltop fire base. But the point about Kirk knowing his way around phasers stands.

Well what other times have we seen a ship fire full phasers at medium to long range into another equivalent ship with shields down?
"The Wounded"? We didn't get the impression that there were any casualties aboard the Phoenix.

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Old October 18 2012, 08:46 AM   #40
blssdwlf
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Timo wrote: View Post
the phaser beam penetrated straight through the ship, causing massive internal damage and/or killing most of the crew
...But not by the Wrath of Khan mechanism, because that one involved actual physical cuts in the hull. If the entire Excalibur were covered in such cuts, she'd be torn apart.
TWOK however is different in that they were low-powered phasers at point-blank range.

We've seen full phasers at transporter range (which would be 30,000km or under) at an unshield Klingon Battlecruiser and 2 double hits resulted in its destruction.

So full phasers beyond transporter range, say in the medium to long range at an unshielded Excalibur with 2 double hits could result in external scarring damage that we can't make out due to distance (although in later scene we see the ship's structure bent up since it was a re-use of the Constellation). So we do know that the ship's structure did suffer damage.

Timo wrote: View Post
Granted, it's probably different phaser technologies at work though.
Is it "phaser technologies" at all, when a power coupling sends the burst? We could say that M5 hurt a comparable power coupling that then sent a deadly burst from within the Excalibur, but that's not something Kirk could discern from looking at M5 firing.
PARIS: I need you to get the computer to block the discharge from the backup phaser power couplings.

It was the backup phaser energy that overloaded into the ship

Although I was arguing that Kirk probably knew that those types of phaser hits on the Excalibur would've been lethal.

Timo wrote: View Post
As a former weapons officer, he'd probably be extra familiar with phaser capabilities...
Gotta nitpick this one: him crewing a "phaser station" in "Obsession" was related to firing at the vampire cloud, which would probably involve hand phasers rather than ship phasers. He might be a weapons officer, or he might be a security goon overseeing a major planetside operation from a hilltop fire base. But the point about Kirk knowing his way around phasers stands.
McCoy's dialogue puts Kirk at a phaser station and mentions Kirk's ship. The attack killed 200 crewman. So, it is possible that somehow half the crew was on the planet below vacationing when attacked, it doesn't quite make sense since Kirk was already manning the phaser station thus the ship was on some kind of alert.
MCCOY: Am I? I was speaking of Lieutenant James T. Kirk of the starship Farragut. Eleven years ago, you were the young officer at the phaser station when something attacked. According to the tapes, this young Lieutenant Kirk insisted upon blaming himself.
KIRK: Because I delayed in firing at it.
MCCOY: You had a normal emotion. You were startled. You delayed firing for a grand total of perhaps two seconds.
KIRK: If I hadn't delayed, it would have been killed.
MCCOY: The ship's exec didn't seem to think so. His log entry was quite clear on the subject. Lieutenant Kirk is a fine young officer who performed with uncommon bravery.
KIRK: Don't you understand? It killed two hundred crewmen.
Kirk's expertise with phasers, shipwide and personal, still stands. He would know what kind of effect Enterprise's phasers would have on the unshielded Excalibur.

Timo wrote: View Post
Well what other times have we seen a ship fire full phasers at medium to long range into another equivalent ship with shields down?
"The Wounded"? We didn't get the impression that there were any casualties aboard the Phoenix.
I did say "another equivalent ship"

Remember that in the beginning of same episode, a Cardassian warship opened fire at close range against an unshielded E-D and only did minor damage.

WORF: Minor damage to secondary hull before we put our shields up, sir. No casualties. Structural integrity intact.

The Cardassians don't really become an equivalent threat until they team up with the Dominion...
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Old October 18 2012, 01:28 PM   #41
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Kirk could also have known there was "no life" aboard the Excalibur because he knew full well all the surviving crew would've already abandoned ship by the time he asks M-5 the question.

Remember, not only does Kirk know what the Enterprise weapons can do, but one can presume he knows all abandon ship procedures and timetables for a Constitution class starship.

Remember, Kirk also asks M-5 what the penalty is for "murder". M-5 replies "death".

Yet.

We know from "The Menagerie" that going to Talos IV is the "only death penalty still on the books".

So if M-5 were being the least bit reasonable when Kirk asked what the penalty for murder was, M-5 should've replied

"Lifetime incarceration in a Federation rehabilitation facility" or something that effect.
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Old October 18 2012, 02:16 PM   #42
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Knight Templar wrote: View Post
Kirk could also have known there was "no life" aboard the Excalibur because he knew full well all the surviving crew would've already abandoned ship by the time he asks M-5 the question.
But then in that case Kirk wouldn't have asserted that the reason for there being no life was because the M5 had murdered it. You don't likely get a second chance to out-think a super smart machine.


Yet.

We know from "The Menagerie" that going to Talos IV is the "only death penalty still on the books".

So if M-5 were being the least bit reasonable when Kirk asked what the penalty for murder was, M-5 should've replied

"Lifetime incarceration in a Federation rehabilitation facility" or something that effect.
The M5's bank of what laws it considered applicable included "the laws of man and God," which it believed murder to be contrary to. Evidently, Daystrom provided the M5 with a concept of right and wrong that was broader than just with respect to Federation law, and one consistent with the one he himself believed in. The penalty that the M5 selected was one that it believed was appropriate in that broader context.
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Old October 18 2012, 07:08 PM   #43
Timo
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

But then in that case Kirk wouldn't have asserted that the reason for there being no life was because the M5 had murdered it. You don't likely get a second chance to out-think a super smart machine.
That assumes that M5 would have been as well versed in Constitution evacuation procedures as Kirk. But since it's a machine that's not supposed to have any crew, Kirk might trust it would not stop to consider evacuation as a reason for the total loss of life at the ship it had targeted...

Kirk is tap-dancing on a high wire anyway. He probably wouldn't think he can outsmart a computer - but he knows how to manipulate people, and M5 is people.

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Old October 18 2012, 07:20 PM   #44
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Timo wrote: View Post
But then in that case Kirk wouldn't have asserted that the reason for there being no life was because the M5 had murdered it. You don't likely get a second chance to out-think a super smart machine.
That assumes that M5 would have been as well versed in Constitution evacuation procedures as Kirk. But since it's a machine that's not supposed to have any crew, Kirk might trust it would not stop to consider evacuation as a reason for the total loss of life at the ship it had targeted...

Kirk is tap-dancing on a high wire anyway. He probably wouldn't think he can outsmart a computer - but he knows how to manipulate people, and M5 is people.

Timo Saloniemi
Kirk did quite alright versus Nomad.
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Old October 18 2012, 08:01 PM   #45
Timo
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

In terms of reasoning? Nomad was crazy; Kirk didn't reason with it, Kirk just confused it and drove it deeper into its madness. Again, his MO was to treat the intelligent machine as a fallible fellow intellect, subject to hubris and pride, self-doubt and regret, and strike at the weak points of its personality.

Had Nomad been an analytical machine, it could have simply declared Kirk's facts "uncoordinated" once more, and ignored the rantings about "errors" while defining "sterilization" as only applying to lifeforms and declaring itself exempt from its own rules. But Nomad had glued random fragments of two incompatible sets of operating instructions together into a jumbled mess that was so self-contradictory that Kirk only needed to give it a random push and it fell apart. M5 was a tougher nut to crack...

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