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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 July 17 2013, 11:56 PM   #16
Lt. Uhura-Brown
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

Is that the one where they chose either the tractor beam or decompressing the cargo/shuttle bay (I forget which).

Why the heck didn't they just do BOTH?
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Old July 18 2013, 12:04 AM   #17
Mojochi
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

Noname Given wrote: View Post
What's the first thing out of Picard's mouth when Worf says 'collision course'?

Picard: "Suggestions?!"

Sorry, but WTF? Is he the Captain or not?
Actually the 1st thing out of his mouth was "Hail them", hoping they might be under power which the ENT-D was not. It didn't work & he had 30 seconds to find something that would. Entertaining a select few options wasn't really a terrible call, imho, one which put their fate in the inertia caused by random decompression, & the other by utilizing one of their tools to attempt to correct the problem. I can see why he'd initially go with the tractor beam. It seemed more reliable

It's stuff like that which allows you to watch decisions unfold, that is why I enjoy the command dynamic on TNG versus TOS
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Old July 18 2013, 12:16 AM   #18
jimbotron
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

And why exactly did all the power go out? Correction, not "all" the power, just the systems they would likely use in that situation. Can't use propulsion, can't use weapons, but CAN use a tractor beam, and can remotely open a shuttlebay.

This is just the beginning of Brannon Braga Treknobabble plot contrivances, back when it was still cute.
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Old July 22 2013, 07:58 PM   #19
Timo
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

Let's not forget that they had faced this situation once before already - with all the misgivings brought up here!

In "Time Squared", the heroes know there's a disaster waiting for them somewhere ahead, and there, too, Riker says that there's no point in turning away from it. LaForge justly confronts him over the claim, and Riker, Picard and Worf all respond by apparently quoting a standing theory of some sort that says time loops cannot be broken. Which is doubly weird, as these three wouldn't seem to have a prayer of out-theorizing LaForge, or Data (who stays strangely quiet in the debate).

Well, the heroes did break the time loop there. So even if prevailing science supports Riker and Picard in "Cause and Effect", these very heroes should know that prevailing science is wrong...

As for the "turning back is a certain way to avoid the loop" argument, it's far from watertight. Starships often make strange twists and turns for this reason or that, and it's perfectly possible that a straight course ahead would have saved the E-D in this particular situation. Just plow straight on, and when a situation emerges where common sense says you should turn (say, there's an emergency call from port, or a safe route around a black hole starboard), you ignore it and keep the helm locked dead ahead. Hell, this is the very thing that saved the ship in "Time Squared"!

It's just that turning at that specific moment should have been a good idea. After all, at that specific moment (during the Observation Lounge debate), there was no obvious reason to turn, meaning a turn right then would definitely surprise Fate.

But would that be enough? Perhaps a starship acting perfectly normally would be safe, but a ship turning for any reason at any time would fall victim to the time loop. After all, time loops supposedly don't happen all that often - so, logically, maintaining a routine should keep you safe, while trying something uncommon would present a high risk of something uncommon happening to you.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 22 2013, 09:46 PM   #20
Tom
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

Evacuate all non essential personal to the saucer and separate the ship, have the saucer trail behind behind the stardrive section. This way the quicker stardrive section could deal with what was ahead of them and thus protect the saucer. Also it would be more unlikely for both vehicles to be destroyed.

Unless they thought this was predestination paradox then separating the ship would not have been something they would have normally done during the first pass when the problem began.
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Old July 22 2013, 10:03 PM   #21
Richard Baker
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

While it was nice to see our only glimpse (however partial) of the the Main Shuttlebay in this episode two things bother me.
It is a very large and presumably staffed area of the ship- how many crewmen were on duty when suddenly they found themselves outside the ship?
Secondly, even though it is a large volume, I do not think it would hold near enough air to move a ship with a mass of around 4,500,000 metric tons.
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Old July 22 2013, 10:13 PM   #22
Timo
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

Both concerns are serious ones, but could be handwaved with the same argument: it's a Variable Gravity Area, just like it sez in the signage.

The mass of the air within would indeed be just a tiny fraction of that needed to appreciable move the ship - unless it were given extra momentum. Just opening the door would not suffice, but opening the door and changing the direction and strength of the artificial gravity within ought to be enough to turn the air into suitably "momentous" rocket exhaust. Remember, gravity doesn't fail when power goes out: it should be just as easily available as door-opening power.

People within should be able to hold on to the railings easily enough if the door were opened; Crusher would have to repair some popped eardrums and whole-body bruises, but nobody need die. Adding the gravity trick would mean everybody would be thrown out and die, though - unless gravity were used creatively, remaining down-pointing and ramped up near the floor but becoming out-pushing (and ramped up) a meter above the floor...

Unless they thought this was predestination paradox then separating the ship would not have been something they would have normally done during the first pass when the problem began.
True enough - but separating the ship is something they should have been doing whenever problems like this began. Could they really be sure they wouldn't have done it this time around?

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 23 2013, 02:51 PM   #23
Richard Baker
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

The variable gravity thing is an interesting point, I still wonder if forcing out that volume of air would have been sufficient. When the doors opened there was a shuttle parked near the entrance, it would have been cool to see it flung out as the gravity flipped ninety degrees.
IIRC in the various official tech manuals the gravity generators were in the floor decking, they have been shown to fail. be reduced or be turned off. As far as I now they have never been shown to either flip the fields at right angles or even cascade a wave- tractor beams have always been shown to move objects in the shuttlebays or near the ship. When the bridge crew was debating different ways to avoid the collision it was only mentioned to open the doors and let the air push the ship, Data pushed a couple of controls and it was so. Re configuring the gravity generators to increase the velocity of the air moving should have required at least a mention and some more beeps I would think.
Besides, while the internal volume of the unseen main shuttlebay is large, I think even if they expelled the available air at the highest possible speed and even tossed out every shuttle stowed there it still would not move the ship of that mass much.
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Old July 23 2013, 09:12 PM   #24
Timo
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

Probably not. And perhaps what saved the ship was not the opening of the shuttlebay, but the avoidance of tractor beam use?

That is, perhaps connecting the two ships with a tractor beam was what placed the E-D on the path for collision in the first place, due to unpredictable circumstances in the Typhon Expanse that affected the courses of the two ships and defied the computations of our heroes. Leaving the beam off meant that when some strange eddy in the Typhon Expanse nudged the Bozeman to the side, this helped her clear the E-D rather than collide with her.

In all the early loops, Data seemed to believe that both Riker's idea and his own were mathematically and physically sound; otherwise he would have told Picard that the ideas would not work. It thus shouldn't be possible for Data's tractor beam scheme to fail - unless there were variables at play that he didn't take into account. When Data realized that computation would get them nowhere, he programmed the message telling that Riker is not merely right, but "more right", something nobody could predict without knowing the outcome in advance.

..should have required at least a mention and some more beeps..
Data frequently achieves very complex feats with minimal keypresses... Say, when scanning for lifeforms in ST:GEN, he plays a little tune with the keys - but he apparently only needs to press at most two extra keys before starting in order to achieve the musical effect! If there are shortcut keys for "turn on keypress sounds" and "tune keypresses for a cute melody", there's probably a shortcut key for "rig main shuttlebay into rocket engine", too!

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 24 2013, 09:34 AM   #25
Tiberius
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

Pavonis wrote: View Post
No, Riker thought turning around is what got them in trouble. That's why they didn't turn around.
But that's the bit that doesn't make sense. The only reason Riker thinks turning around is a bad ideas is because they know something's coming. The first time through, they wouldn't have known. Why then would they turn around? They had no reason to, and yet the Enterprise got caught anyway. If the Enterprise gets caught when it doesn't turn around, doesn't it make sense to try something different and see if that gets you out?
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Old July 24 2013, 01:37 PM   #26
Timo
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

Remember that our heroes already know they are caught in a repeating loop - a loop that apparently has already repeated itself multiple times. Turning back is an obvious idea, but it has done them no good in the supposed previous attempts!

It's not as if our heroes would know that the time loop is the result of the ship being in spot X at time T. In other words, there's no guarantee that avoiding spot X would keep the ship out of the loop. Perhaps it's more a matter of the ship doing activity Y at time T? Or doing activity Y at any random time? Or not being in spot X at time T?

The "they knew nothing during their first time around" argument is not a helpful one, because any number of exotic things could have happened during their first time around already. Nothing necessitates an "uneventful" original run where the only event is the ship crashing into a time loop, or makes this more or less likely than an "eventful" run where all sorts of things happen and just one of those is responsible for the loop.

In general terms, yes, it may make sense to "struggle" as much as possible, to turn around, to separate the ship, to sing "Allamaraine, allamaraine!" while standing on one's head... But "strugging" is exceptional, and time loops are exceptional, so there's the very real danger that the two are actually connected.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 24 2013, 02:01 PM   #27
Mario de Monti
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

Timo wrote: View Post
The "they knew nothing during their first time around" argument is not a helpful one, because any number of exotic things could have happened during their first time around already. Nothing necessitates an "uneventful" original run where the only event is the ship crashing into a time loop, or makes this more or less likely than an "eventful" run where all sorts of things happen and just one of those is responsible for the loop.
But it is THE MOST HELPFUL argument! They are stuck in a loop that is repeating itself over and over again, the only thing that changes is the actions of the crew. So if any "exotic thing" had happened on their initial journey to the first collision it would also have happened in all of the subsequent loops! The first time is only different in that the crew has no memory of past loops, since there were no past loops. So, no memory of previous loops means no discussion in the conference lounge whioch means NO suggestion to change course. So changing course MUST avoid the collision.

It IS that simple!

Mario
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Old July 24 2013, 02:32 PM   #28
Timo
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

Only if they believe it's a "collision", though.

In "Time Squared", the heroes did not know the nature of the threat facing them, and indeed we got no reason to think that the anomaly would not have stood in their path no matter what path they chose. No matter that the actual maelstrom-in-space was just a few hundred meters across, it seemed to be their "destiny".

In "Cause and Effect", they know their deaths are caused with collision with another starship - an event that requires them to be at an incredibly exact spot in spacetime, with only meters or seconds to spare! That sort of a collision shouldn't really be repeatable no matter whether a course change is made or not, as random things such as Picard being a split second slow or fast to command "slow to impulse" should completely preclude the event. Logic would thus dictate that the strange starship is deliberately aimed at the E-D, either by the commander of that vessel or by potentially sinister greater forces at play. And changing of course would not help in either of those cases, while keeping the course would not increase the jeopardy!

The bottom line is, Riker could have quoted about fifty reasons why changing of course is a silly idea, and Picard or Worf or Troi or LaForge could have quoted fifty others why it's actually a splendid idea. But both sides resigned to only spelling out one of their arguments, even though Picard in no way discouraged the free presenting of ideas. This sort of suggests the participants all had experience and expertise in these things ("Time Squared"!), and saw the overall futility of trying to fight a time loop with insufficient information; the arguments offered were mere token expression of the complexity of the situation.

In the end, let's remember that it was Picard's duty to solve the mystery, quite possibly even at the cost of his life, his ship and his crew. Merely steering clear of danger would not have sufficed, not until Picard found out what that danger was exactly, and how it could be neutralized.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 24 2013, 03:02 PM   #29
Tom
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

Separate the dam ship! LOL
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Old July 24 2013, 03:42 PM   #30
Timo
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Re: Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

That's sort of the worst of both worlds, though. If they separate, which half should turn back and which half should continue? If the saucer is set on the course that creates the time loop, their odds of survival were just reduced a lot...

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