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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old May 28 2013, 11:00 PM   #61
Pauln6
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

Timo wrote: View Post
Intruder alerts might be largely based on detecting penetration rather than presence, and if the means of penetration is innovative enough, it will go unnoticed. Quite possibly, countermeasures or even detection mechanisms for transwarp beaming will not be invented until several decades into this new timeline...
I agree up to a point BUT in order for long distance transporting to work, sensors in NuTrek have to be far more effective than in previous incarnations (and they made no adjustments to the technology to accommodate the transport) so we have a discrepancy. I can't recall if the Enterprise detected the unauthorised transport or the hatch opening in engineering in the last movie. I think it was the latter, which implies that the Enterprise doesn't have automated systems to detect incoming transports.

I think the Narada, with its advanced tech, should have been able to detect the 'secret' transport but then there were lots of other ways that they might have been tipped off -weapons fire, unexpected access to computers etc.

Maybe Praxis blew up while the Klingons were trying to reverse engineer Narada tech. It's possible that they might have some nasty surprises for the Federation up their sleeves.

There are quite a few situations where 1+1 don't quite equal 2.
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Old May 29 2013, 04:14 AM   #62
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
The fact that the conversation took place is not an issue since it would hook up to the nearby transmitter of the ship and the station. What is silly is that Scotty could engage in an unauthorised conversation on a secure facility without them noticing.
Are they even looking for that kind of thing? Would they be able to discern his transmission from any of the other crew using their communicators?

I didn't have a problem with that, personally...
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Old May 29 2013, 04:23 AM   #63
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
Don't forget the handheld communicators powerful enough for someone at the NZ to have a conversation with someone on Earth. In REAL TIME.
I don't understand this bit. Why would a hand communicator be a less likely way to talk from star to star than a starship communicator? Both are likely to simply hook up to an existing network anyway. It's not as if the hand communicator would have been operated far away from all possible boosters, now is it?

Timo Saloniemi
The fact that the conversation took place is not an issue since it would hook up to the nearby transmitter of the ship and the station. What is silly is that Scotty could engage in an unauthorised conversation on a secure facility without them noticing.
What's silly about that? Even if Section 31 was listening in on their conversation, the very next thing Scotty does is jump on a shuttlecraft and leave the planet without telling anyone where he's going. What were they gonna do, shoot a torpedo at his communicator?
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Old May 29 2013, 04:27 AM   #64
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
I agree up to a point BUT in order for long distance transporting to work, sensors in NuTrek have to be far more effective than in previous incarnations
I disagree. Scotty suggests that their sensors aren't actually up to the job at all; targeting a distant ship at warp is too difficult for anything he had on hand.

It's not, it turns out, that you need to be able to target your destination accurately. The "transwarp beaming equation" is basically plug and play so you really only need to have a general idea where your target is and what part of the target you want to hit (probably using some sort of shifting frame of reference, so you basically target the last place your target WAS and then calculate your arrival point accordingly).

I think the Narada, with its advanced tech, should have been able to detect the 'secret' transport
Narada was a civilian ship; I doubt it had anything more sophisticated than the Romulan equivalent of a burglar alarm.
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Old May 29 2013, 08:28 AM   #65
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

Ok - what's silly about it is, we have better security in the 21st century. I have to show a valid ID badge to get into work and that is not a top secret spy base. We can monitor mobile phone calls now -albeit civil liberties prevent authorities doing this as standard. Does anybody think that a top secret base close to instigating a war with the Klingon Empire would NOT be monitoring local traffic? Why would it? FOR EXACTLY THE REASONS WE SAW IN THE MOVIE!

And Scotty doesn't flee - he sneaks onto a top secret spaceship with poorly trained security. In our office, if you see someone without ID, you are supposed to challenge them and that is everybody, not just trained security staff, who would immediately escort said unknown persons off the premises (or more likely to the brig on a starship). Standard security protocol should be to report in straight away as well let alone listen to what was being said on the communicator, asking intruder to pass you the communicator, or stunning prisoner and picking up communicator yourself.

Having no method of detecting incoming transporter signals is ludicrous. Transporter tech has been around for decades. I don't believe that nobody has thought of this as a security problem. Shields impliedly cannot be used all the time (otherwise why don't they?) so ships are incredibly vulnerable. We saw in WWII that science keeps pace with the technology (although some nations get an advantage by getting there first). Ships may have methods to try and disguise where on the ship the transport ends up e.g. by emitting an energy pulse to overwhelm sensors temporarily - so the ship knows that someone has probably been transported but they would not know exactly where but no detection at all is daft.

Narada was a civilian ship - with massively powerful shields, massively powerful weapons, and a lot of them, but inefficient sensors... and in a nation where intruders beamed in off a cloaked ship are a very, very real threat. I don't buy it as anything other than a plot contrivance. It's just silly.
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Old May 29 2013, 12:09 PM   #66
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

Narada was a civilian ship - with massively powerful shields, massively powerful weapons, and a lot of them, but inefficient sensors...
Powerful shields? These didn't seem to do any good at any point of the movie: all enemy shots got through, all enemy attempts at transportation got through, etc. The Narada was all offense, with no defensive capabilities in evidence. And even all the offensive power seemed sort of accidental, the way a steamroller might make for a good impromptu tank, especially a century before tanks were invented.

None of this would appear to have any impact on the level of security systems aboard. It still remains a civilian installation, and a vast one crewed by a handful of people at that. And most of the time, it's probably way too dangerous to be targeted by hostile boarders, for virtually zero gain: who would brave transporter-fouling drilling machinery to steal mining charges or repair drones?

Having no method of detecting incoming transporter signals is ludicrous. Transporter tech has been around for decades.
Transwarp beaming probably changed all the rules, though. I mean, if it really pushes the transportee through subspace in order to move him FTL, it would present as different a challenge to security systems as a computer virus is from a cat burglar... Most starships would still have cast iron gratings in the chimney as their first line of defense when the enemy would be coming in through broadband.

We saw in WWII that science keeps pace with the technology
Nobody invented a way to make aircraft invisible to radar in the six years of fighting against that particular technology (ways of making the aircraft more visible, such as chaff, don't count). Which is probably a great analogy for the situation at hand: there's an offensive technology, and there is a need for a defensive one, but the defensive technology doesn't flow naturally from the existence of the offensive one.

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Old May 29 2013, 06:57 PM   #67
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

Timo wrote: View Post
Narada was a civilian ship - with massively powerful shields, massively powerful weapons, and a lot of them, but inefficient sensors...
Powerful shields? These didn't seem to do any good at any point of the movie: all enemy shots got through, all enemy attempts at transportation got through, etc. The Narada was all offense, with no defensive capabilities in evidence. And even all the offensive power seemed sort of accidental, the way a steamroller might make for a good impromptu tank, especially a century before tanks were invented.

None of this would appear to have any impact on the level of security systems aboard. It still remains a civilian installation, and a vast one crewed by a handful of people at that. And most of the time, it's probably way too dangerous to be targeted by hostile boarders, for virtually zero gain: who would brave transporter-fouling drilling machinery to steal mining charges or repair drones?

Having no method of detecting incoming transporter signals is ludicrous. Transporter tech has been around for decades.
Transwarp beaming probably changed all the rules, though. I mean, if it really pushes the transportee through subspace in order to move him FTL, it would present as different a challenge to security systems as a computer virus is from a cat burglar... Most starships would still have cast iron gratings in the chimney as their first line of defense when the enemy would be coming in through broadband.

We saw in WWII that science keeps pace with the technology
Nobody invented a way to make aircraft invisible to radar in the six years of fighting against that particular technology (ways of making the aircraft more visible, such as chaff, don't count). Which is probably a great analogy for the situation at hand: there's an offensive technology, and there is a need for a defensive one, but the defensive technology doesn't flow naturally from the existence of the offensive one.

Timo Saloniemi
You do make some reasonable points but the Narada defeated 47 Klingon ships - I don't see that being possible without some defensive capabilities.

In TOS I believe that Gary Seven's transport was intercepted by Enterprise. I don't see how that's possible if the sensors can't detect incoming signals. The technology is definitely there, it's just conveniently forgotten.

I think proposing transwarp beaming as a new type is weak. They didn't make any modifications to the shuttle transporter. It's regular transporting with a new algorithm
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Old May 29 2013, 07:27 PM   #68
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

You do make some reasonable points but the Narada defeated 47 Klingon ships - I don't see that being possible without some defensive capabilities.
Kirk defeated a large number of Klingon ships, too - by cheating. Nero relied on defense system codes to kill Earth, and was a habitual prisoner-taker, so he probably cheated his way to victory as well: by obtaining codes to Vulcan's defense system, inserting vicious attack programs into it, and then attacking without fear of reprisal.

If Nero didn't have a chance to get any Klingon codes, there's another arrow in his quiver. When he defeated the Klingons, he already possessed red matter, brought to him by Spock from the future. We know it destroys starships in empty space - it destroyed Nero's.

If that doesn't suffice, either, we can always say Nero never destroyed any Klingon ships. After all, the supposed destruction of Klingon forces was what lured Starfleet into the Laurentius system, apparently, when they should have been guarding Vulcan. Nero would be true to his modus operandi here as well: he'd use communications and information where weapons would not suffice.

In TOS I believe that Gary Seven's transport was intercepted by Enterprise. I don't see how that's possible if the sensors can't detect incoming signals.
Just as possibly, Gary Seven's transport signal detected the Enterprise and decided to materialize there, mistaking it for the New York office.

I think proposing transwarp beaming as a new type is weak. They didn't make any modifications to the shuttle transporter. It's regular transporting with a new algorithm
Transwarp transporter must be a completely new type, as the regular type never does FTL or long distances. OTOH, subspace transporter in TNG is a completely new type using the same old hardware when Picard rigs the E-D systems to get to DaiMon Bok's ship. Good consistency there!

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Old May 29 2013, 07:42 PM   #69
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Ok - what's silly about it is, we have better security in the 21st century. I have to show a valid ID badge to get into work and that is not a top secret spy base. We can monitor mobile phone calls now -albeit civil liberties prevent authorities doing this as standard. Does anybody think that a top secret base close to instigating a war with the Klingon Empire would NOT be monitoring local traffic? Why would it? FOR EXACTLY THE REASONS WE SAW IN THE MOVIE!
Two things here:

1) Despite what you may have heard, wiretapping every private conversation on the entire planet isn't actually a very good way of catching criminals, especially in a world were three billion people own phones and millions of them are talking at any given time. Imagine the situation where it's actually eight billion phones just on Earth alone, in addition to the two billion other people spread across 100 Federation worlds who at any given reason have a reason to talk to someone on Earth. Scotty's conversation would be one out of tens of millions, and at no point in that conversation does Scotty use the words "bomb" or "honor" or "praetor" or even "Section 31," or any other keywords that might potentially tip off a data mining program that his conversation was important. What, exactly, did the conversation entail, except for Kirk calling Scotty and asking "Dude, are you drunk? Okay, take down these coordinates for me. Sorry about firing you. Buh bye." Starfleet wouldn't have caught it because in actually there's nothing there for them to catch, except for the coordinates, which might not actually mean anything to anyone but Section 31, who at this point isn't monitoring public communications.

2) Despite their claims to the contrary, Section 31 isn't an official and recognized part of starfleet, it's more of a quasi-legal conspiracy of like-minded officers (sort of like the Fraternal Order of Police). They don't actually have direct command of Starfleet resources other than what can be (mis)appropriated by Section 31 members; it's all very much on the sly.

Which means it's fortunate that Scotty arrived when he did, at the exact moment that the Vengeance's bridge crew and engineers arrived -- and in a considerably hurry, it turns out -- to ready the ship to fly to the neutral zone and shoot down the Enterprise. Almost any other time of the year, they would have beamed aboard his shuttle, wiped his memory and dropped him on Ganymede with a splitting headache.

And Scotty doesn't flee - he sneaks onto a top secret spaceship with poorly trained security. In our office, if you see someone without ID, you are supposed to challenge them and that is everybody, not just trained security staff, who would immediately escort said unknown persons off the premises (or more likely to the brig on a starship).
Having worked as an armed security guard in the not too recent past, I can tell you straight faced that most private security guards are more for show than for security. The guy who questioned Scotty probably didn't have the first idea what to do with him and was mainly just biding time until his supervisor showed up. I suspect the same is true of the guards who saw Scotty's shuttle fly past the dock; if they're anything like the people I used to work with, they probably noticed the shuttle, flagged its ID and immediately wrote a report to the effect of "Unidentified shuttle entered perimeter at 0530 hours. Registry NCC-1701/9. Scans show single occupant plus five liters of Scotch."

Having no method of detecting incoming transporter signals is ludicrous. Transporter tech has been around for decades.
So has wireless radio, but nobody seems to have invented a device that can tell you instantly if somebody in the building is using one.

Narada was a civilian ship - with massively powerful shields...
WERE the shields massively powerful? I seem to recall that they failed immediately after being rammed by a Vulcan speedboat...

massively powerful weapons, and a lot of them
Powerful by 23rd century standards, sure. It's possible that the weapons the Narada fired at Enterprise in 2257 were just the K-mart knockoffs of the torpedoes Khan invented in 2259.

and in a nation where intruders beamed in off a cloaked ship are a very, very real threat
What nation would that be, considering Klingon ships cannot use transporters while cloaked?
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Old May 29 2013, 07:50 PM   #70
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

Timo wrote: View Post
Transwarp transporter must be a completely new type, as the regular type never does FTL or long distances.
Actually it's a very OLD concept that nobody could ever get to work properly. The first experiments with transwarp beaming took place in the 22nd century not long after the development of Starfleet's earliest transporter systems; Trip even mentions to Archer that the modifications to the transporter were mainly just superficial and despite the increased capability of their transporter system, didn't seem necessary for transwarp beaming anyway.

So it is not and has never been all that different from standard transporter technology. The only real difference seems to be figuring out a way to guide the carrier wave to its destination, and that turns out to depend on that one crucial equation.

I kind of thing it's a bit like somebody having rocket technology without having ever discovered calculus or the Tsilkovsky Rocket Equation. You could get rockets to fly short distances -- say, Germany to London and vice versa -- but planning interplanetary trips would be profoundly difficult since you cannot accurately account for either your ship's delta-v budget. At least, not until the older version of Jim Lovell writes something down on your notebook and you think "Shit, it never occurred to me to think of propellant as part of the payload!"
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Old May 29 2013, 07:51 PM   #71
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Actually, Klingons often transport when cloaked - Kirk used that ability extensively in ST4, and it played a role in "Unification" as well.

It's Romulans who insist on stopping everything else when cloaking, and conversely in dropping cloak when doing anything at all. This also affects the Defiant, with its cheap Romulan cloak.

The proper question here is, who the hell would want to board a mining rig? And why should the rig try to prevent that? Merchant ships today don't try to stop boarding parties capable of getting aboard a speeding transport, because if they are capable of that, they are also capable of sinking said ship; it does no good to resist, and a world of good to surrender.

Actually it's a very OLD concept that nobody could ever get to work properly. The first experiments with transwarp beaming took place in the 22nd century not long after the development of Starfleet's earliest transporter systems; Trip even mentions to Archer that the modifications to the transporter were mainly just superficial and despite the increased capability of their transporter system, didn't seem necessary for transwarp beaming anyway.
Quite so - and quite consistent with the TNG "Bloodlines" portrayal of subspace-enhanced transporting, too.

Getting it to work is "new", and different from how regular transporters work, though. Again, the "Bloodlines" system is sufficiently different that it sidesteps shields which are the perfect remedy to conventional beaming.

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Old May 29 2013, 11:39 PM   #72
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I suppose we can all find contradictory episodes to support one theory or another. But if the tech is not and has never been all that different from normal transporters, how does it get past shields? Why don't ships use it to beam weapons past shields? How could the Enterprise D detect and follow it's carrier wave but have no chance of detecting the incoming signal. Arrgh - I feel like Kirk has just proposed a logic problem for me.

I think maybe I'm prejudiced because I don't like what the potential of transwarp/subspace beaming means for the franchise. At least in its earlier forms they had the good sense to say it was too dangerous to use. NuTrek seems to be saying it's dangerous but let's use it anyway - it speeds up the plot.

The Narada doesn't just have powerful weapons, it has a SHED LOAD of powerful weapons. If her weapons are powerful because they are just standard 24th century weapons why wouldn't her shields be designed to stand up to those standard 24th century weapons let alone 23rd century weapons... space piracy does still exist.

Narada did seem very slow, which is fine and most of her bulk would be for storage and ore processing... except she still managed to destroy 47 ships, travel from Rura Penthe to Vulcan in a day, and destroy 7 or so Federation ships. Again, they overplayed their hand. Why mention so many Klingon ships, why send so many starships to investigate an earthquake on Vulcan? They only needed two to make the point. TWoK was fun precisely because the ships were evenly matched and they had to outwit each other. Bigger explosions don't necessarily make a better movie.

I don't want starships landing on planets and transporters taking you to strange new worlds. That seems to be missing the point of traditional Trek. I applaud the attempt to shoot some adrenalin into the franchise, don't just do it while taking speed and crack as well!

I get the impression that the writers don't view the new franchise through the prism of 23rd century technology but rather more like 24th century tech with knobs on. Our dilithium crystals are just fine. We have energy to burn lets punch it to the Klingon homeworld in 10 hours. I suppose I wish they'd dialled it down several notches.
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Old May 30 2013, 05:11 PM   #73
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
I suppose we can all find contradictory episodes to support one theory or another. But if the tech is not and has never been all that different from normal transporters, how does it get past shields?
I'd say it's radically different - it's just not necessary to build all-new machinery to implement it, because Federation hardware is so flexible to begin with. It always is, after all.

Probably for the "Bloodlines" effect, you just turn the subspace carrier wave to three hundred when the knob is only labeled up to ten, and accept the known risks. But if you know a bit more, you can adjust half a dozen other existing knobs according to a secret formula and make it a lot safer.

Why don't ships use it to beam weapons past shields?
In ST:ID, they might just barely have invented something to make that difficult. Or then it's a plot hole.

In TNG, it seems it takes a lot of genius or luck to get the thing to work reliably. Sending weapons blindly is a bad idea, not because the weapons might get hurt (although they might blow up on your face because of that), but because they might end up just about anywhere.

How could the Enterprise D detect and follow it's carrier wave but have no chance of detecting the incoming signal.
Because the former is a long-duration phenomenon while the latter is transient?

I think maybe I'm prejudiced because I don't like what the potential of transwarp/subspace beaming means for the franchise. At least in its earlier forms they had the good sense to say it was too dangerous to use. NuTrek seems to be saying it's dangerous but let's use it anyway - it speeds up the plot.
Quite. Then again, ST:ID seemed to do some tying up of loose ends from STXI, so we might hope for a continuing pattern of "fixes". They've now made use of the "Old Spock knows helpful things" concept and shown how it can backfire big time; they've tackled the "Kirk is a young hothead" issue and shown that even with Pike's backing, this will make his holding on to captaincy very, very difficult. They might tackle the plot effects of transwarp beaming next...

The Narada doesn't just have powerful weapons, it has a SHED LOAD of powerful weapons.
Of one type only. And we don't really know if that is even a proper weapon. Certainly it's highly inefficient against a prepared starship, which can shoot down 100% of the "missiles" with ease, at least if they are targeted against some other victim (both the Kelvin and the Enterprise achieve this).

If her weapons are powerful because they are just standard 24th century weapons why wouldn't her shields be designed to stand up to those standard 24th century weapons let alone 23rd century weapons... space piracy does still exist.
And nobody today arms or armors ships against piracy. It's simply not cost-effective; if anything, it increases the risks of piracy, because the villains now have the incentive to come aboard and rob the guns and armor!

Turning a drilling rig into a fighting vessel is probably flat out impossible at any century. Turning one into an instrument of devastation is trivial in comparison, as long as the opponent is unprepared.

Narada did seem very slow, which is fine and most of her bulk would be for storage and ore processing... except she still managed to destroy 47 ships, travel from Rura Penthe to Vulcan in a day, and destroy 7 or so Federation ships.
To nitpick, we never learned she would have been anywhere near any place called "Rura Penthe" at any point. We didn't even learn that she would have been near a Klingon prison planet - we only learned that such a planet supposedly sent the message that Starfleet intercepted.

Again, they overplayed their hand. Why mention so many Klingon ships, why send so many starships to investigate an earthquake on Vulcan? They only needed two to make the point. TWoK was fun precisely because the ships were evenly matched and they had to outwit each other. Bigger explosions don't necessarily make a better movie.
Strongly agreed. But if the Klingon battle report was a Nero ruse, then of course it has to feature fantastic odds...

I don't want starships landing on planets
I definitely do. After all, there never was any reason why they could not.

I get the impression that the writers don't view the new franchise through the prism of 23rd century technology but rather more like 24th century tech with knobs on.
I have the nagging feeling the tech is viewed through the prisms of nuBSG and Star Wars exclusively.

On the general issue of dialing it up or down, ST:ID at least preempts most plotholes by

a) having supervillains, so that whatever they do is inherently possible, and
b) having them be at odds with each other, so that whatever they fail to do can be excused as villain A not wanting to support the efforts of villain B too much.

That's cheap, but it works.

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Old May 30 2013, 07:54 PM   #74
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

Timo wrote: View Post
Because the former is a long-duration phenomenon while the latter is transient?
But that doesn't make sense. Communications signals come in on subspace carrier waves and if they couldn't detect them they'd never receive any messages. In fact the TMP Enterprise has a large communications bay where they filter incoming signals and notify Uhura what she needs to know (she gives the impression she does it all herself but it probably takes a dozen full timers downstairs to do the grunt work).

Timo wrote: View Post
And we don't really know if that is even a proper weapon. Certainly it's highly inefficient against a prepared starship, which can shoot down 100% of the "missiles" with ease, at least if they are targeted against some other victim (both the Kelvin and the Enterprise achieve this).

And nobody today arms or armors ships against piracy. It's simply not cost-effective; if anything, it increases the risks of piracy, because the villains now have the incentive to come aboard and rob the guns and armor!

Turning a drilling rig into a fighting vessel is probably flat out impossible at any century. Turning one into an instrument of devastation is trivial in comparison, as long as the opponent is unprepared.
This is where my suspension of disbelief wavers. How does Nero get the drop on 47 Klingon ships? Were they all parked up at MacDonalds waiting for their Gakh burgers? How many conclusively destroy the starship every time in the Kobayashi Maru test? It just doesn't ring true. It's like a chinese puzzle - you move one bit to plug a plot hole and it opens up a gap somewhere else.

Timo wrote: View Post
I don't want starships landing on planets
I definitely do. After all, there never was any reason why they could not.
I've proceeded on the assumption that it was to do with the amount of energy is takes to escape a planet's gravity compared to the mass of the ship. Impulse power and warp power were based on known physics with a bit of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff thrown in to make the maths work. A starship could always do it but it would take a shed load of energy and you'd devastate the local terrain using impulse power or use up a massive amount of your hydrogen fuel using thrusters (and probably cause widespread devastation if you were dumb enough to create a warp field on a planet, most likely blowing yourself up in the process).

However, the Saucer has always had landing struts so there was a suggestion that it COULD land if it had to. I viewed this as an emergency measure though since impulse engines won't get you very far in space and emergency batteries are likely to expire after a relatively short space of time. So it makes sense if the saucer is designed to land on a rocky planet (preferably habitable) and set up a base to wait for rescue. Although it has a lower mass than the whole ship, you'd still need a massive amount of energy to raise something that shape away from a planet's gravity.

NuTrek seems to have adopted the view that ships run on magic rather than physics. The NuPrise is twice the size and twice the mass of the Enterprise so that does raise eyebrows. The energy requirement to escape and in fact manoeuvre rather effectively and speedily within an atmosphere have nothing to do with real world physics any more. That is a great shame and basically dumbs down the franchise quite a bit. I loved the lumbering battleship feel to the ships as they plowed through space. Now they can zip around in a planet's gravity like a TIE fighter. It's just... silly. Sigh...
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Old May 30 2013, 09:51 PM   #75
Timo
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Re: New Treknology Into Darkness

But that doesn't make sense. Communications signals come in on subspace carrier waves and if they couldn't detect them they'd never receive any messages.
So it does make sense after all? I mean, I just argued that subspace carrier waves are consistently detectable and this is because they are a long-duration phenomenon.

How does Nero get the drop on 47 Klingon ships?
He can kill a planet with, indeed, a drop. Catching a Klingon frontline garrison world by surprise would be a nice way to accomplish such a trick... There'd be no opposition afterwards, but OTOH a space detonation of red matter would leave planetside witnesses to spread the message of terror to Starfleet, thereby leaving Vulcan defenseless.

But if Nero really uses this as a ruse to get Starfleet away from Vulcan, then surely the battle site must be distant from Vulcan - while Nero himself has a slow ship... Which is why I still prefer the idea that there was no battle, merely a false message that indicated a horrible threat approaching from the direction of Laurentius which is nowhere near Vulcan or Nero's previous location.

I've proceeded on the assumption that it was to do with the amount of energy is takes to escape a planet's gravity compared to the mass of the ship.
That's probably the weakest approach, as starships have energy and power to burn. Escaping a planet is an established feat - starships even escape black holes in TOS and VOY! Towing a planet is a feat not yet established, but it should not be all that far beyond the capabilities of a single ship; Spock and Picard come close to achieving it in "Paradise Syndrome" and "Deja Q", respectively.

Whether starships move by using thrust is far from established. We have never heard of a "rocket blast" associated with impulse power, and indeed starships themselves appear immune to such things, as impulse engines often are facing starship structures without frying them. Perhaps impulse drive is purely gravity manipulation (that is, subspace trickery, as subspace fields remove inertia)? Even if it's not, Starfleet has gravity tech, and could direct the ship's power to gravitic landing and takeoff engines if need be.

The NuPrise is twice the size and twice the mass of the Enterprise so that does raise eyebrows.
...But nowhere the size of a Borg ship yet. And bigger things have lifted off planets in Star Trek...

The energy requirement to escape and in fact manoeuvre rather effectively and speedily within an atmosphere have nothing to do with real world physics any more.
Why is this a problem? Real world physics could not explain how the Enterprise got from Elas to Troyius in such a short time, let alone how she got to the Tellun system in the first place. Propulsion in Trek is fundamentally and consistently immune to currently known laws of physics.

That doesn't make it ill-conceived or contradictory, though. Not unless for some reason starships were unable to land on planets and lift off from them!

Now they can zip around in a planet's gravity like a TIE fighter.
If by "now" you mean "Tomorrow is Yesterday"...

Timo Saloniemi
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