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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 14 2015, 11:24 AM   #1
at Quark's
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Enterprises battle bridge

Just 'bumped in' on a mention of the ent-D's battle bridge, which got me thinking, and now I've got some questions about it:

1) Why even have one ?

I mean, I understand that the Enterprise could separate, the saucer section with all inhabitants to go into hiding somewhere safe while the drive section could go to 'do battle'. Apart from the question whether going into battle with the drive section alone would be a tactically better option (I could imagine that having less area and less civilians to defend would be a tactical advantage), why not simply build the primary bridge in the driver section, and a much smaller separate secondary command centre that would only need basic navigation in the saucer section ? Wouldn't that have been far more efficient, also in terms of having to relocate fewer senior officers in a hurry in case of unexpected heavy battle? Is there any paramount tactical reason for building the primary bridge in the saucer section that I'm unaware of ?

Or is it also for show? I mean, the ent-D was expected to ferry many foreign dignitaries and make first contact every now and then, hence an impressive bridge on the "beautiful" part of the ship (saucer section) would be useful to impress when showing your guests around, whereas the battle bridge would be utilitarian only ?

2) I believe that the battle bridge is used only a few times in the entire series (in three eps?)

-out of universe-

Was this the idea from the beginning, showing that the Enterprise was a ship of peace primarily, but could do serious battle occasionaly when needed as well ? Or was the battle bridge (and the saucer separation, for that sake) just one of those "cool ideas" from the pilot that was largely forgotten as TNG went on, only to be used extremely sparingly in later episodes?

-in universe-

So, was this a room that was almost never in use by the crew, yet packed with expensive equipment? Or would there have been a complement of officers in everyday situations, too, taking advantage of some some of the equipment there ?


I know, a lot of questions. It's just that I got wondering about it ...
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Old June 14 2015, 11:28 AM   #2
Mage
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

I always understood that, even going back to TOS, the saucer is the actual main part of the ship, housing just about everything. The secondary hull (it's already in the name really) houses the engines, and shuttle bay for some ships. Everything else is basicly in the saucer. That design linage even goes back to the NX-class, where the ship is basicly only a saucer, with two nacelles that house the fieldcoils that create the warpfield.

So yes, to me, it makes sense that the main bridge is in the part of the ship that is actually 'the ship'.
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Old June 14 2015, 11:32 AM   #3
at Quark's
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

Mage wrote: View Post
I always understood that, even going back to TOS, the saucer is the actual main part of the ship, housing just about everything. The secondary hull (it's already in the name really) houses the engines, and shuttle bay for some ships. Everything else is basicly in the saucer. That design linage even goes back to the NX-class, where the ship is basicly only a saucer, with two nacelles that house the fieldcoils that create the warpfield.

So yes, to me, it makes sense that the main bridge is in the part of the ship that is actually 'the ship'.
I can understand that reasoning, but then, wouldn't there need to have been a major relocation of many systems, anyway, to make the concept of a "combat ready enterprise without saucer section" work ?

I mean, I'd think the enterprise in combat would need huge amounts of energy (for shielding, extreme impulse acceleration, high warp when needed, outstanding sensor capability, top weapons performance and so on), so I'd expect that an energy system at least as good as needed for the saucer section would have to be in place in the drive section. The same holds for weapons systems, shield generators, sensors, and so on...
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Old June 14 2015, 11:36 AM   #4
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

I can't cite anything at the moment, but the fairly well-known TOS design legend is that the nacelles (i.e., the engines) were placed as far away as possible from the main habitable area of the ship because of radiation. The idea was to minimize exposure. So, that's basically why the ship is divided into a primary hull and an engineering hull. Therefore, the bridge, i.e. the main control deck where the top officers spend most of their time, is on the saucer, the primary hull. All other hero ships (DS9's Defiant excepted) follow this pattern for the layout, even if not for that reason in-universe.
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Old June 14 2015, 11:36 AM   #5
Mage
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

The only thing the saucer adds to the equation is the huge phasers banks, and perhaps sensors. IIRC, everything else is in the drive section. Generators, torpedolaunchers, an impulse engine in the neck.
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Old June 14 2015, 11:39 AM   #6
Timo
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

It's pretty much a case of "mission module" vs. "support module", as long as one considers fighting a "support" activity. Although it's not a NASA-clean division where the support section would be all machinery and only the mission section would be crewed.

I think the battle bridge concept offered a lot of story potential that never got used because it was the wrong sort of story potential. Splitting the heroes in two spacecraft engaged in two separate but intertwined adventures must have sounded cool - and for that, two distinct bridges would definitely be required.

But if there's only about half an hour for that plot, and then some mandatory filler plus commercials to round out the hour, it's damned difficult to pull off. Two-parters could split the crew (as in "Gambit", say), but a regular episode would have been a complicated write indeed if there was to be a crew and ship split. And there would be extra minutes spent on the VFX of showing the ship separate and reattach - not that those should be dramatically needed in general, if separation were a weekly maneuver, but if it were any rarer than that, the audience might feel the need for the visual cues. Or the director would think that the audience needed the cues, which would be equally bad.

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Old June 14 2015, 12:16 PM   #7
Lance
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

My feeling was that 'Battle Bridge' is just a fancy new name for what TOS called 'Auxilary Control'.
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Old June 14 2015, 12:39 PM   #8
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

Because it seemed cool to someone in charge. And indeed it is cool, when we see Riker in the dimly lit badass battle bridge in "Best of Both Worlds". Unfortunately, it was too much fuss to do on a weekly basis when someone started shooting so barely ever happened.

I think the only time the saucer's impulse-only abilities ever mattered was in DC comics' first TNG miniseries.
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Old June 14 2015, 02:09 PM   #9
Lance
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

As others have intimated up thread, I think there were definitely potential stories that could've used it, but the average length episode isn't one of them. It could've been employed in the two-parters, and if stories like "01001001" or "Starship Mine" had've seen the intruders stealing away only the drive section or the saucer, leaving the other half of the ship to the regular cast to give chase. Stuff like that could've been a rich vein to mine.

So I don't think it was that much of a problem from a *writers* point-of-view. I reckon its lack of use was more to do with the fact that they would've needed to get out the old season one Enterprise from storage again to do all the new model shots required, as that was the only one that could be physically seperated. And that model was so big and unwieldy they just figured it was more trouble than it was worth.
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Old June 14 2015, 03:23 PM   #10
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I can't cite anything at the moment, but the fairly well-known TOS design legend is that the nacelles (i.e., the engines) were placed as far away as possible from the main habitable area of the ship because of radiation. The idea was to minimize exposure. So, that's basically why the ship is divided into a primary hull and an engineering hull. Therefore, the bridge, i.e. the main control deck where the top officers spend most of their time, is on the saucer, the primary hull. All other hero ships (DS9's Defiant excepted) follow this pattern for the layout, even if not for that reason in-universe.
Oberth-class ships (such as the Grissom) also have the nacelles attached directly to the saucer.
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Old June 14 2015, 05:05 PM   #11
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

Mage wrote: View Post
I always understood that, even going back to TOS, the saucer is the actual main part of the ship, housing just about everything. The secondary hull (it's already in the name really) houses the engines, and shuttle bay for some ships. Everything else is basicly in the saucer. That design linage even goes back to the NX-class, where the ship is basicly only a saucer, with two nacelles that house the fieldcoils that create the warpfield.

So yes, to me, it makes sense that the main bridge is in the part of the ship that is actually 'the ship'.
I agree as well.
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Old June 14 2015, 05:15 PM   #12
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I can't cite anything at the moment, but the fairly well-known TOS design legend is that the nacelles (i.e., the engines) were placed as far away as possible from the main habitable area of the ship because of radiation. The idea was to minimize exposure. So, that's basically why the ship is divided into a primary hull and an engineering hull. Therefore, the bridge, i.e. the main control deck where the top officers spend most of their time, is on the saucer, the primary hull. All other hero ships (DS9's Defiant excepted) follow this pattern for the layout, even if not for that reason in-universe.
Oberth-class ships (such as the Grissom) also have the nacelles attached directly to the saucer.
True, but I wasn't counting them as hero ships.
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Old June 14 2015, 06:09 PM   #13
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

The original intention seemed to be that the drive section has more of the practical parts of the ship and the saucer section has all the residential parts of the ship, and every time there's a forseen dangerous situation the ship separates.

Unfortunately the ship designers were not informed of this until after they'd already finished the design do the only logical place for the ship to separate made the drive section ugly as f*** without the saucer.
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Old June 14 2015, 08:46 PM   #14
at Quark's
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
... the only logical place for the ship to separate made the drive section ugly as f*** without the saucer.
Ah, so that's not just me thinking that
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Old June 14 2015, 10:44 PM   #15
Lance
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Re: Enterprises battle bridge

On the subject of the geography of the ship, I've always thought it was a bit much how often we saw the captain turning up in engineering in person, especially from TNG onward. It seemed silly to me that they'd hold these meetings in the middle of the engine room with all the command staff present, or that we'd see the captain ''checking in'' personally with Geordi about whatever the problem-of-the-week was. It never seemed to me that in TOS we saw Captain Kirk wandering down to the engine room as much as Picard or Janeway later did, he usually just communicated with them via the intercom, which is of course closer to how such a ship would operate in real-life (and infers the greater sense of distance the engine room would be from the command center.)

TNG kind of started out with this in mind, like in "Skin of Evil" where the captain is bemused to say the least by his intercom communications with Leyland T. Lynch, or when in "Encounter At Farpoint" the fact that Worf has the schlep all the way back and forth from the bridge to engineering with messages is spoken of as being quite the journey that it would be. But it just seemed to me that later on, it wasn't uncommon for the captain to just pop around the corner and say, "Hey Geordi, whassup my man?"
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