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Old November 20 2012, 01:57 PM   #1
Angry Fanboy
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Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

Putting aside for a moment the way combat is depicted on screen, due to the necessity of having both ships in shot and so on, what would a "real" Star Trek battle play out like given the supposed 300,000+ kilometre ranges of starship phasers and photon torpedoes, and the ability of combatants to change position at faster-than-light speeds.

A short exchange involving massive amounts of phaser and photon torpedo fire across a wide gulf in the hopes of overwhelming an enemy's shields before they overwhelm your own perhaps?

What do you think?
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Old November 20 2012, 04:08 PM   #2
Forbin
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

TACTICAL: "Klingon battlecruiser detected at extreme range... they've fired. Six torpedoes inbound. Four minutes to impact."

VIEWSCREEN SHOWS ANIMATED PLOT OF TORPEDO TRACKS.

CAPTAIN: "Countermeasures."

DECOY DRONES LAUNCH, EACH LOCKING ONTO A TORPEDO AND EITHER DISTRACTING IT OR CAUSING IT TO DETONATE. MEANWHILE THE SHIP BEGINS EMITTING SIGNALS TO CONFOUND THE TORPEDOS' GUIDANCE SYSTEMS.

CAPTAIN: "Maximum shields and Evasive maneuvers. Let's get out of those torpedoes' way just in case. Weapons officer. Can we get a lock on the Klingon?"

WEPS: "Negative, they've cloaked."

CAPTAIN: "Okay. Torpedo spread, maximum dispersal based on his position when he fired."

A DOZEN TORPS LAUNCH. MINUTES LATER, THOUSAND OF CUBIC MILES OF SPACE IS BATHED IN ANTIMATTER EXPLOSIONS.

TACTICAL: "No joy, sir. He's not there any more."

CAPTAIN: "Continue evasive pattern. Let's not give him an easy lock. Stand by torpedoes and phasers. Weps, you fire the second he pops up, don't wait for my order."

WEPS: "Aye, sir."

TACTICAL: "Klingon decloaking at-"

WEPS: "Torpedoes away."

SIX TORPS REACH OUT

TAC: "He's launching too. Phasers auto-engaging enemy torps."

THE ANIMATED TACTICAL PLOT ON THE SCREEN SHOWS THE ENEMY TORPS EXPLODING FROM PHASERS AS OUR TORPS PASS THEM GOING THE OTHER WAY. THE KLINGON SHIP TURNS INTO A FORMLESS BLOB AS OUR TORPS HIT. BUT ONE ENEMY TORP...

TAC: "Missed one, sir!"

THE SHIP ROCKS.

CAP: "Damage?"

TAC: "Forward shield... down by 10 %. No damage. Sorry about that, sir."

CAP: "No worries. Coffee, yoeman?"

YOEMAN: "yes it is, sir."
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Old November 20 2012, 06:44 PM   #3
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

I'd think a "real" ST battle would employ much of what is used in today's combat (and I'm no professional warfighter).

The actual visual firing of weapons would only be a small part of the combat. Combat would be at thousands of kilometers range, all beyond visual range. There would be extensive sensor tracking, sensor jamming, re-acquiring.

There'd be C3 interference, electronic attacks on the enemy to prevent his ability to launch an attack or pose a threat. A variation of the prefix code ruse Kirk used in TWOK.

When weapons were fired, there'd be countermeasures and other means of defense other than taking the hit and falling down on the bridge.

Of course, much of this isn't visually exciting for the screen, weapons fire and hit FX make the kewl factor.

But then again, the non-visual component of combat can be dramatically tense and exciting if well written.
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Old November 21 2012, 12:23 AM   #4
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

From what I understand the real Star Trek battles involved getting Gene to approve the story ideas the writers came up with.
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Old November 21 2012, 12:24 AM   #5
Saturn0660
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

Forbin wrote: View Post
TACTICAL: "Klingon battlecruiser detected at extreme range... they've fired. Six torpedoes inbound. Four minutes to impact."

VIEWSCREEN SHOWS ANIMATED PLOT OF TORPEDO TRACKS.

CAPTAIN: "Countermeasures."

DECOY DRONES LAUNCH, EACH LOCKING ONTO A TORPEDO AND EITHER DISTRACTING IT OR CAUSING IT TO DETONATE. MEANWHILE THE SHIP BEGINS EMITTING SIGNALS TO CONFOUND THE TORPEDOS' GUIDANCE SYSTEMS.

CAPTAIN: "Maximum shields and Evasive maneuvers. Let's get out of those torpedoes' way just in case. Weapons officer. Can we get a lock on the Klingon?"

WEPS: "Negative, they've cloaked."

CAPTAIN: "Okay. Torpedo spread, maximum dispersal based on his position when he fired."

A DOZEN TORPS LAUNCH. MINUTES LATER, THOUSAND OF CUBIC MILES OF SPACE IS BATHED IN ANTIMATTER EXPLOSIONS.

TACTICAL: "No joy, sir. He's not there any more."

CAPTAIN: "Continue evasive pattern. Let's not give him an easy lock. Stand by torpedoes and phasers. Weps, you fire the second he pops up, don't wait for my order."

WEPS: "Aye, sir."

TACTICAL: "Klingon decloaking at-"

WEPS: "Torpedoes away."

SIX TORPS REACH OUT

TAC: "He's launching too. Phasers auto-engaging enemy torps."

THE ANIMATED TACTICAL PLOT ON THE SCREEN SHOWS THE ENEMY TORPS EXPLODING FROM PHASERS AS OUR TORPS PASS THEM GOING THE OTHER WAY. THE KLINGON SHIP TURNS INTO A FORMLESS BLOB AS OUR TORPS HIT. BUT ONE ENEMY TORP...

TAC: "Missed one, sir!"

THE SHIP ROCKS.

CAP: "Damage?"

TAC: "Forward shield... down by 10 %. No damage. Sorry about that, sir."

CAP: "No worries. Coffee, yoeman?"

YOEMAN: "yes it is, sir."
I would say you are just about right on the money with that.
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Old November 21 2012, 12:29 AM   #6
GreenBlood
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

Setting aside ships, phasers and torpedos. Some of the realest battles occur on the bridge of the Enterprise. For instance, in TMP when Decker competes with Kirk for command of the bridge..Decker: "...This how I define unwarranted...!!!!"
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Old November 21 2012, 03:41 AM   #7
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

I actually think the Honor Harrington novels, though not Star Trek actually get quite close to what you are describing. Just replace sidewalls and impeller wedges with Deflector Shields, laserhead missiles with photon torpedoes and their graser weapons as phasers.
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Old November 21 2012, 04:01 PM   #8
Forbin
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

Mister_Atoz wrote: View Post
I actually think the Honor Harrington novels, though not Star Trek actually get quite close to what you are describing. Just replace sidewalls and impeller wedges with Deflector Shields, laserhead missiles with photon torpedoes and their graser weapons as phasers.
Agreed. Weber does the battle very convincingly.
If only he wouldn't babble on about fictional politics for chapters on end...
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Old November 21 2012, 05:45 PM   #9
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

^Or turned the main character into such a Mary Sue.
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Old November 21 2012, 06:02 PM   #10
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

I can shorten the previous example (and the whole show).

Teaser :

Klingon Cruiser detected at extreme range Captain. It's turning to an intercept course, weapons hot...

Opening Credits

The Klingon has opened fire Captain !

'Increase speed by, oh, 10%. And fetch me a sandwich...'

End Credits
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Old November 21 2012, 11:10 PM   #11
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

Well if you have good intel--good spies--all you need are shield frequencies, your transporter, and a bomb.

There goes a whole fleet
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Old November 22 2012, 02:45 AM   #12
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

Angry Fanboy wrote: View Post
Putting aside for a moment the way combat is depicted on screen, due to the necessity of having both ships in shot and so on, what would a "real" Star Trek battle play out like given the supposed 300,000+ kilometre ranges of starship phasers and photon torpedoes, and the ability of combatants to change position at faster-than-light speeds.

A short exchange involving massive amounts of phaser and photon torpedo fire across a wide gulf in the hopes of overwhelming an enemy's shields before they overwhelm your own perhaps?

What do you think?
When it is between two evenly matched ships:
Both detect each other, raise shields and arm weapons. They close to firing range, exchange fire and realize that they're evenly matched. They call it a tie and withdraw unless one ship makes a mistake that the other one can capitalize on.
When one ship outmatches the other:
Refer to the opening battle of "The Errand of Mercy" or the USS Phoenix vs Cardassian warship in "The Wounded".
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Old November 22 2012, 06:19 AM   #13
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

There used to be a really cool SFB website with SSD's and shit like that.. But what I really liked was the story page that had some short "battle" stories.
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Old November 22 2012, 07:03 PM   #14
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

Forbin wrote: View Post
TACTICAL: "Klingon battlecruiser detected at extreme range... they've fired. Six torpedoes inbound. Four minutes to impact."

VIEWSCREEN SHOWS ANIMATED PLOT OF TORPEDO TRACKS.

CAPTAIN: "Countermeasures."

DECOY DRONES LAUNCH, EACH LOCKING ONTO A TORPEDO AND EITHER DISTRACTING IT OR CAUSING IT TO DETONATE. MEANWHILE THE SHIP BEGINS EMITTING SIGNALS TO CONFOUND THE TORPEDOS' GUIDANCE SYSTEMS.

CAPTAIN: "Maximum shields and Evasive maneuvers. Let's get out of those torpedoes' way just in case. Weapons officer. Can we get a lock on the Klingon?"

WEPS: "Negative, they've cloaked."

CAPTAIN: "Okay. Torpedo spread, maximum dispersal based on his position when he fired."

A DOZEN TORPS LAUNCH. MINUTES LATER, THOUSAND OF CUBIC MILES OF SPACE IS BATHED IN ANTIMATTER EXPLOSIONS.

TACTICAL: "No joy, sir. He's not there any more."

CAPTAIN: "Continue evasive pattern. Let's not give him an easy lock. Stand by torpedoes and phasers. Weps, you fire the second he pops up, don't wait for my order."

WEPS: "Aye, sir."

TACTICAL: "Klingon decloaking at-"

WEPS: "Torpedoes away."

SIX TORPS REACH OUT

TAC: "He's launching too. Phasers auto-engaging enemy torps."

THE ANIMATED TACTICAL PLOT ON THE SCREEN SHOWS THE ENEMY TORPS EXPLODING FROM PHASERS AS OUR TORPS PASS THEM GOING THE OTHER WAY. THE KLINGON SHIP TURNS INTO A FORMLESS BLOB AS OUR TORPS HIT. BUT ONE ENEMY TORP...

TAC: "Missed one, sir!"

THE SHIP ROCKS.

CAP: "Damage?"

TAC: "Forward shield... down by 10 %. No damage. Sorry about that, sir."

CAP: "No worries. Coffee, yoeman?"

YOEMAN: "yes it is, sir."
Forbin, that is a fantastic description of a battle. It has tension and excitement in spades. Cudos.
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Old November 22 2012, 07:48 PM   #15
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Re: Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

Mostly agreed with Forbin, except I've been toying with the idea about how to use warp and impulse engines at this speed, in addition to shields and deflectors. I doubt the engagement would really be as simple as "hit him before he hits you." Your Klingon attacker might take several hits and chose to disengage, but if he's really pissed off you're going to still be fighting him for another ten minutes before one of you can claim victory.

I figure out it's like swords and arrows. (Bear with me on this one) at long range, you can shoot torpedoes at the other guy (arrows) or close to short range and hammer him with phasers (swords). Sword duels are only quick and brutal when they don't involve armor or some protection; if you have a short sword in one hand and a shield in the other, it might take you a minute to get past that shield and get some good happy stabbing done. So, exactly what tactic you use depends on what the other guy is equipped with. Someone with, say, deflector screens tied into his warp drive is going to be able to repel your torpedoes almost indefinitely, so you're going to have to get in close with phasers and either knock out his deflectors or force him to transfer that power to his engines just to get away from you. At that point, you either finish him off with the phasers, or you let him get some distance and hit him with torpedoes (or both). If he's got a lot of heavy armor, you don't have a choice: a phaser or torpedo strike will have to hit him in a sensitive spot to do any damage.

Starship combat would probably degenerate into knife fight ranges more often than you'd expect, as ships get closer and closer in an attempt to thwart each other's defenses and make more of their own shots hit. Jumping back out to a distance -- if the other guy gives you time -- can give you a chance to catch your breath and regroup before pressing the attack again, but the nature of heavy shielding and deflectors means it's still more likely to be a sword fight than a sniper duel.
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