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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old May 2 2013, 04:29 PM   #1
jimbotron
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The stupidity in Booby Trap

They discover nearby asteroids are actually energy collectors that convert the energy from a ship into deadly radiation.

So then Riker suggests they shoot a beam of ENERGY at the deadly energy collectors. What can possibly go wrong?

Data rightly warns them that the phasers might provide the collectors with just what they need - energy. At least this time, Picard ignores Data's apt advice rather than poor Worf.
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Old May 2 2013, 04:40 PM   #2
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

Riker sometimes isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.
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Old May 2 2013, 07:30 PM   #3
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

Yeah, that was a face-palm moment. "We're trapped by energy collector. Phasers are energy. Load up a spread of photons and fire". Or suit up a couple of engineers and explosives specialist, space walk over the collector and plant a demo-charge.
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Old May 2 2013, 07:37 PM   #4
jimbotron
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

Then at the end, they fire some photons at 3-4 collectors plus the Promelian cruiser. Didn't Data say there were hundreds of thousands of collectors?

Also, why destroy the cruiser? Set up a warning beacon, and send a survey team to retrieve the vessel. It was one of a kind, after all. You just blew up "the bottle", captain.
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Old May 2 2013, 08:15 PM   #5
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

"We must protect the priceless artifact" *BOOM!* "Lunch?"

And lords know I love TNG, but this episode is a prime example of how they overthink a problem. They can't use anything energy based, they can't use engines. Rather than risk being trapped with their escape attempt, just dragg a torp out an airlock, spacesuit it over to the collectors, put them on timers, and boom problem solved.
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Old May 2 2013, 08:29 PM   #6
jimbotron
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

It's like a Chinese finger trap. The more you pull, the tighter it gets. Their solution was to move their fingers so quickly, they would release before the trap could tighten.

It seems silly that there's no way to move a ship in space without using warp or impulse power. Thrusters seem to work with all the computers off, so why not get out using only maneuvering thrusters?

The problem was overthought. Don't try cheating the trap, circumvent it completely. Heck, they avoided destruction a couple years later by opening a shuttlebay.
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Old May 2 2013, 10:18 PM   #7
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

They can't use anything energy based
That's just silly. Everything is "energy based", from shoelaces to particle accelerators to photon torpedoes to chemical explosives. There's no particular reason to think that phasers would automatically be among the things the collectors can neutralize or utilize - especially if phasers were not part of the Promellian arsenal originally. And Picard seems to think of the Promellians as a kind of primitive forebears of Starfleet, achieving great things with less advanced hardware...

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Old May 2 2013, 11:46 PM   #8
jimbotron
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

"Energy-based" is rather broad. I'd say a photon torpedo is just a fancy projectile. Trek seems to treat physical projectiles differently than energy weapons. For instance, the Borg will 'adapt' to phasers and create shields, but you can still shoot them with bullets or stab them.

A phaser beam is concentrated energy used to overload/overheat the target. Something like an EMP or stun-gun. But at its core, it's basically an electrical current. Shooting an electrical current at something that converts electrical energy into deadly radiation seems most unwise.
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Old May 2 2013, 11:57 PM   #9
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

Actually it makes sense to try it. Even if you're in a cell with bars that are solid, you try the bars first before doing the unconventional. Same thing if you locked in a room. You try the locked door first, then move onto other things. It was worth a shot to see if the ancient energy draining technology could stand up to modern equipment.

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Old May 3 2013, 12:32 AM   #10
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

Just because the asteroids collect energy doesn't mean that they can collect an infinite amount of it. It's certainly conceivable that the Enterprise's phasers could have overwhelmed the asteroids and destroyed them.
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Old May 3 2013, 09:39 AM   #11
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

jimbotron wrote: View Post
It seems silly that there's no way to move a ship in space without using warp or impulse power. Thrusters seem to work with all the computers off, so why not get out using only maneuvering thrusters?
I remember seeing this episode and just being confused by the ending, the thrusters Picard activated worked like a charm and moved the ship in the desired direction. Why didn't they use them in the first place and even if they didn't realize they would work, why did they act like Picard flying the ship out of the trap was a big deal? Oh no, we're not gonna make it ... wait a minute, the captain's using the asteroid's gravity, we'll survive!!! Couldn't he have just used the thrusters to move forward instead of left and right? Shut up, Wesley!
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Old May 3 2013, 02:13 PM   #12
Timo
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

For instance, the Borg will 'adapt' to phasers and create shields, but you can still shoot them with bullets or stab them.
In their inaugural episode, they easily adapted to photon torpedoes without even having to take damage from an initial shot.

As for bullets, those worked once. Everything works once against the Borg (except photon torpedoes, which don't work even once). There's no indication the old aceton assimilators would have been equally flexible in their response...

the thrusters Picard activated worked like a charm and moved the ship in the desired direction
Actually, they didn't - the episode was quite confusing on that issue.

Anything powerful enough to make the ship move would have been countered by the assimilators. But LaForge figured out that doing an extremely quick burst with the impulse engines would be both powerful enough to get the ship moving and unnoticeable enough to avoid a countermove from the assimilators.

Only after the impulse engines had kicked the ship into motion did the thrusters come into play. They were barely strong enough to slightly adjust the course of the ship, and their sustained use would have attracted an assimilator attack (plus, accelerating on thrusters would have taken too long and everybody would have died from the slow but ongoing radiation attack). But brief bursts again avoided assimilator attention and allowed the ship to dodge those rocks that got in the way.

We never got a scene in any of the Trek shows or movies where thrusters would have been sufficient to get the ship from A to B. They can get the ship moving at a crawling pace, such as when piloting out of a spacedock. But if that's the best they can do, they would have to operate for months if not years to get the ship to another planet, through an asteroid belt, or whatnot.

Those thruster scenes do have some built-in silliness, to be sure. Sometimes a thruster creates a bright flame, sometimes not. And when going around the big rock, Picard supposedly fires thrusters that get the ship spinning ("starboard aft"), which shouldn't alter the actual trajectory at all - the ship would still move straight ahead (albeit spinning) and would crash into the asteroid. But perhaps the dialogue is just slightly inaccurate, or we miss key phrases because of the cuts in the action - and perhaps Picard has a valid reason for spinning the ship, as this would bring some "tidal" forces into play to further affect the way the ship's CoG is moving.

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Old May 4 2013, 01:12 AM   #13
T'Girl
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Didn't Data say there were hundreds of thousands of collectors?
If there were, then we attempt to destroy the farthest one we can both detect and target. If it emits radiation, okay that won't work on the ones closest to us. If the collector blows up (or simply stops working) then we destroy the ones closest to us and create a path out for the ship.

Takeru wrote: View Post
the captain's using the asteroid's gravity
Even if it was a solid ball of iron, how much could it's gravity have been anyway? maybe if the Enterprise were moving at a slow walking speed.

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Old May 4 2013, 01:52 AM   #14
jimbotron
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

There's further stupidity later in The Hunted. With all the security they have, Danar is able to run up behind a guard who was facing a force field for some silly reason, knock out the guy, and then use the communicator to lower the force field.

Riker asks how he could have done it. How about Danar signaled lower a force field without first identifying himself or providing some kind of authorization code?

Odo was right to chew out Worf when he joined DS9.
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Old May 4 2013, 12:41 PM   #15
Timo
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Re: The stupidity in Booby Trap

Even if it was a solid ball of iron, how much could it's gravity have been anyway? maybe if the Enterprise were moving at a slow walking speed.
We're witnessing a scale discrepancy in such scenes anyway: despite dialogue, such rocks aren't thousands or even hundreds of kilometers away. But perhaps we're to believe that they are, in which case it basically follows that they are also realistically large rocks with lots of pull.

Riker asks how he could have done it. How about Danar signaled lower a force field without first identifying himself or providing some kind of authorization code?
Doesn't sound likely, because why wouldn't the system ask for an ID? In which case Riker's amazement is appropriate, and Danar is astoundingly clever.

That's what the writers want us to believe, so why not believe them? We have to commit a double fault if we want to believe that Damar did something trivial and Riker is not entitled to express wonder.

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