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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 June 23 2014, 05:57 PM   #1
JesterFace
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Redemption & tachyon detection grid

This has always bothered me and does it every time I watch these two episodes. Couldn't the Romulan ships just go around the grid... I mean space is 3 dimensional.

The explanation I've come up with is that a ship doesn't necessarily even have to pass through the grid, Federation can keep an eye all around the grid since they've flooded the area with tachyons and the tachyons do travel faster than light and increase speed when energy drains, at least those are the theories of today...

I don't know... It just would be fun for once watch these apisodes not having trying to explain the grid to myself and how it works =)
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Old June 23 2014, 06:38 PM   #2
jimbotron
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

That has always bugged me too. That happens all the time in Trek though: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TwoDSpace

Only a few times has Trek used space in three dimensions (Star Trek 2, Star Trek 6, future Enterprise-D in AGT)

Voyager could have avoided most of its troubles if it has just flown around certain obstacles.
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Old June 23 2014, 07:19 PM   #3
Nebusj
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

JesterFace wrote: View Post
This has always bothered me and does it every time I watch these two episodes. Couldn't the Romulan ships just go around the grid... I mean space is 3 dimensional.
Presumably the grid crosses a region of space strategically important enough that, for the duration of the crisis, it's improbable any Romulan ships not going past it would have anything to do with the matter.

For a parallel, the United States set up many early-detection radar systems watching for Soviet nuclear missiles coming over the North Pole. There's no logical reason they couldn't have come over the South Pole, only practical ones in which it'd be so much harder to deliver missiles on target in strategically useful times.

If there's only the time or vessels available to put up one detection grid, put the grid where you expect ships have to pass.
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Old June 23 2014, 07:35 PM   #4
jimbotron
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

Somebody's gonna have to go back and get a shitload of dimes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbWg-mozGsU&feature=kp
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Old June 23 2014, 07:47 PM   #5
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

Nebusj wrote: View Post
For a parallel, the United States set up many early-detection radar systems watching for Soviet nuclear missiles coming over the North Pole. There's no logical reason they couldn't have come over the South Pole, only practical ones in which it'd be so much harder to deliver missiles on target in strategically useful times.
That's wrong, though. ICBMs are suborbital, so they have a definite range limit. They don't attain orbital velocity. The B in ICBM stands for ballistic. That's the logical reason why we won't get an attack from over the South Pole with existing missile types. Over the North Pole is the shortest distance, and over the South Pole is simply beyond the missiles' ranges.

With respect to the episode, there really isn't a way to get the tachyon detection grid to make sense without an inordinate amount of handwaving. With the number of ships, and the distances they discussed, it was dumb.
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Old June 23 2014, 07:49 PM   #6
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

While Star Trek is set in space, Star Trek has always been analogous to traveling on the ocean and arriving at different ports. As such, it has to follow two-dimensional logic. Like CorporalCaptain said, lots of handwaving is needed.

In cases where ships hide in nebulae or use cloaking devices, suddenly it becomes like a submarine story. Otherwise it's like any encounter on the open water.
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Old June 23 2014, 08:23 PM   #7
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

ICBMs are suborbital
...Except for those that are orbital - see FOBS. It's just that it's more practical to build ICBMs that go less than halfway around the globe than ones that go more than halfway. Both because short-ranged missiles are cheaper, and because missiles with a short flight time are better at surprise strikes. It follows that building seemingly sub-par tripwire radar chains is also practical, because there's no need to defeat the worst enemy imaginable - merely the existing one.

The B in ICBM stands for ballistic.
Yup, as opposed to aerodynamic. Nothing to do with whether they are capable of orbiting stuff or not. (Indeed, many are used for orbiting satellites today, with appropriate upper stages that could trivially have been added to them while they were doomsday weapons, too.)

As for the tachyon detection grid, it's got absolutely nothing to do with whether space is two- or three-dimensional. It's all about how long a detour the Romulans are willing to make, regardless of the exact direction that this detour is going to involve. A two-dimensional network surface blocking three-dimensional space is perfectly appropriate, just like a one-dimensional line of ships is perfectly appropriate for the two-dimensional surface of an ocean - assuming the distances work out.

We don't know how wide the net is. At some point, we can start arguing it's wide enough; below that point, it is not. What we do know is that on one occasion, two ships in the grid were close enough to each other that it was practical for them to physically rendezvous (the E-D/Excalibur encounter, reusing "Yesterday's Enterprise" footage of a point-blank meeting). If one or both of those ships could cover the distance in the time involved without spraining a warp coil, it follows that the Romulans could do the same. But if the distance involved was that of two neighboring nodes only, it's possible that the extreme nodes of the net would still be located so far apart that the Romulans could just as well give up and sail home.

The Okudagrams give little sense of scale - except when the ships start moving to cover the "hole" in the net, and that movement is very fast, faster than the movement we observed in "The Wounded" when the Phoenix warp-maneuvered next to a warship and a transport in the immediate vicinity. This would seem to suggest the net was in fact fairly compact, and we're back to the "makes no sense whatsoever" point, but we can probably appeal to all sorts of factors here, as it's just a symbolic computer graphic.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old June 23 2014, 08:44 PM   #8
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

Timo, FOBS and similar systems are banned by treaty. I specifically said that my remarks applied with respect to existing missile types.

As for the meaning of the word ballistic, you are correct that ballistic trajectories can be orbital. However, if a de-orbit burn is needed to bring a payload down from orbit, the payload isn't really a projectile in the sense of ballistics, which was my point, badly worded though it it was. FOBS was an innovation that warranted its own name.
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Old June 23 2014, 11:21 PM   #9
JesterFace
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

Let's not argue because we should not be angry at each other but at Ron Moore for writing such weirdness =)

I stand by my theory because... it's mine and sort of makes sense to me.

If Redemption 1 and 2 sucked it wouldn't be a problem, I would just not watch them, but they're both good episodes, apart from the gridthing.
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Old June 24 2014, 12:41 AM   #10
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Timo, FOBS and similar systems are banned by treaty. I specifically said that my remarks applied with respect to existing missile types.
But because of that, they sort of missed the point. Just like NebusJ said, the reason we can have something like the DEWline (or, perhaps, the tachyon detection grid) is because existing weapons are nowhere near as lethal as they theoretically could be. There's no absolute obstacle to building missiles that would make DEWline useless and ridiculous, but there are plenty of practical obstacles to the building of such weapons, hence DEW still makes (made) sense.

And, conversely, this is why there was no point in building anything better than DEW. Always settling for the barely adequate is how escalation contests are won (ask the Royal Navy, say).

This might be relevant for the tachyon grid, too: a clever Picard would initially deploy it in a rather ineffective, closely packed form, trying to goad the Romulans into acting. Were they to try and outmaneuver the grid, Picard could then up the ante and deploy the ships ten times farther out, then a hundred times. The moment the Romulans got fed up with that game and acted directly against the grid, Picard could legitimately cry uncle and launch a war the Romulans had no stomach for.

As for the meaning of the word ballistic, you are correct that ballistic trajectories can be orbital. However, if a de-orbit burn is needed to bring a payload down from orbit, the payload isn't really a projectile in the sense of ballistics, which was my point, badly worded though it it was.
Yup. But the reason the B is there in the ICBM is not because the weapon flies like a cannonball, with just one initial boost - it's there because the weapon doesn't have wings. Anything lacking wings would have gotten that B when such things were first created.

Apart from that, an ICBM is always a multistage affair, with a prolonged boost phase that in fact represents a major part of the entire flightpath, so not really "ballistic" in that puristic cannonball sense, either.

FOBS was an innovation that warranted its own name.
Not as much an innovation as a strategic choice. Sure, back then, it took good technology to get A-bombs to retrograde orbits. But just twenty years later, the technology involved would have been trivial; the game was played with different cards at that point, using bans rather than missiles to improve one's strategic deterrent. Today, we could build missiles to defeat the most grandiose Star Wars defense plans, but there's no need because actually existing ABM systems are feeble and impotent. So a casual observer would be deceived as regards the actual state of the art in missile building. Or antimissile defenses for that matter.

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Old June 24 2014, 02:09 AM   #11
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

jimbotron wrote: View Post

Only a few times has Trek used space in three dimensions (Star Trek 2, Star Trek 6, future Enterprise-D in AGT)
I'd add "The Enterprise Incident" and "The Tholian Web" from Star Trek season three.
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Old June 24 2014, 04:16 AM   #12
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

I've gone with the theory that the grid is large enough that by the time they make it around, it would be too late to deliver the supplies where they were needed.

I try not to think about it, and the episodes are so good that when I am watching them, I usually don't.
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Old June 24 2014, 04:22 AM   #13
LMFAOschwarz
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Somebody's gonna have to go back and get a shitload of dimes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbWg-mozGsU&feature=kp
Never thought of it that way!
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Old June 24 2014, 08:12 AM   #14
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Nebusj wrote: View Post
For a parallel, the United States set up many early-detection radar systems watching for Soviet nuclear missiles coming over the North Pole. There's no logical reason they couldn't have come over the South Pole, only practical ones in which it'd be so much harder to deliver missiles on target in strategically useful times.
That's wrong, though. ICBMs are suborbital, so they have a definite range limit. They don't attain orbital velocity. The B in ICBM stands for ballistic. That's the logical reason why we won't get an attack from over the South Pole with existing missile types. Over the North Pole is the shortest distance, and over the South Pole is simply beyond the missiles' ranges.
Yes, dear, and you know that, if it were desired, it would be possible to build missiles with a bigger range. It wasn't desired, though, because the practical problems were overwhelming: they'd have to be pretty near orbital bombers to start with, they'd have to deliver much smaller bombs, and they'd have pretty much no chance of actually hitting their targets reliably (certainly for the Soviet Union, probably for the United States, depending on just which decade we're talking). While the sensor net of radar lines might be evaded by sending missiles over the South Pole, nothing useful could be sent that way, so it's sensible to concentrate detection systems where the missiles are obviously going to come from.
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Old June 24 2014, 12:19 PM   #15
Timo
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Re: Redemption & tachyon detection grid

...It's a slightly different issue whether it pays off to do something utterly non-sensible once in a while to overwhelm the defenses of the rationally prepared enemy. One might argue that when A builds a defense that is at the upper limit of sensible, it always is a good idea for B to invest in defeating that, because a) the enemy will be beggared and b) you will get the initial victories that may be decisive against a self-impoverished enemy. The Maginot line might have warranted the preparing of an invasion army capable of defeating it through application of modern technology, say, because the line was relying on technologies that did not take into account modern developments in air power and armor, and it was beggaring the defender. But of course the more sensible approach was to circumvent the line.

Did Picard reveal the Federation hand by deploying a sensor net representing the absolute state of the art, allowing the Romulans to study it at length, and even allowing them to challenge it without retribution? Or did the net represent just a fraction of the capabilities of a) Starfleet and b) the technology in question? I sort of think it was the latter, because in "Face of the Enemy" already this very technology is considered a decisive deterrent against all intrusions from the Romulan Star Empire! That's an upscaling of literally astronomical magnitude. And it suggests that Picard could have gone astronomical whenever he wished, too, extending his net to cover not just a few lightyears (?) but a few hundred or thousand if the Romulan actions warranted this.

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