RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 138,151
Posts: 5,343,766
Members: 24,596
Currently online: 637
Newest member: Steve0811

TrekToday headlines

New Funko Trek Figure
By: T'Bonz on Jul 21

Saldana As A Role Model
By: T'Bonz on Jul 21

San Diego Comic-Con Trek Fan Guide
By: T'Bonz on Jul 21

Cumberbatch As Turing
By: T'Bonz on Jul 21

Retro Review: In the Pale Moonlight
By: Michelle on Jul 19

Trek Beach Towel
By: T'Bonz on Jul 18

Two New Starships Collection Releases
By: T'Bonz on Jul 17

Giacchino Tour Arrives In North America
By: T'Bonz on Jul 17

IDW Publishing October Star Trek Comics
By: T'Bonz on Jul 16

Cho As Romantic Lead
By: T'Bonz on Jul 16


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Tech

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old June 25 2010, 06:55 PM   #1
Mr Silver
Rear Admiral
 
Location: UK
Starfleet Phasers

Apologies if someones already brought this up, had a quick look but to no avail, but this is something i've always wondered

From what I understand about Starfleet model Phasers, they have the following settings

Stun: Which encompasses various levels from a deterrant (in the case of Zephram Cochrane) to individual settings that can be adjusted in relation to the individuals species, etc

Wound: Which also has the potential to kill, basically a beam that penetrates the body, seen during (TUC when Burke and Samno fired at the Klingons) and used against the Borg in Starfleet's various battles against them

Now my point is, In a society set in the future, where one of the primary goals is to preserve life, why would these weapons have a "Vaporize" setting? Its practically barbaric shooting at someone and watching them disintegrate, even during an armed conflict

Is there any other reason for there being a "Vaporize" option, for instance, we've seen that Phasers can be used to provide heat sources (by heating rocks, etc) and also to cut away at obstacles, but surely for this method to be applied to organic physiology, there would need to be modifications done to the weapon? The setting itself seems too readily available, in TOS there were regular occurances of firing Phasers set to vaporize (although they weren't quite as graphic as the "Vaporize" effects seen in TWOK for example)

Thoughts?
Mr Silver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 25 2010, 07:09 PM   #2
The Librarian
Commodore
 
Re: Starfleet Phasers

Because sometimes things are resistant to lower settings, you need to dig a hole through rock, or vaporizing is just a more reliable and instant kill in some situations. The stun setting is there for when you need to preserve life, and vaporize is there for you need to be sure the other guy dies.
The Librarian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 25 2010, 07:42 PM   #3
C.E. Evans
Vice Admiral
 
C.E. Evans's Avatar
 
Location: Saint Louis (aka Defiance)
Re: Starfleet Phasers

IMO, phasers have always been as much tools as they are weapons--especially during early TNG, where I think they tended to look more like tools than weapons. Starfleet likely trains its personnel not to use the higher lethal settings against other life-forms unless there simply isn't any alternative.
__________________
"Everybody wants to rule the world..."
C.E. Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 25 2010, 08:19 PM   #4
T'Girl
Vice Admiral
 
T'Girl's Avatar
 
Re: Starfleet Phasers

Its practically barbaric shooting at someone and watching them disintegrate, even during an armed conflict
Even the "stun" setting can kill, if you turn it all the way up. If you just regular stun someone, then if a certain amount of time they simply wake up. If you're on a battle field you don't want your opponent wake up later, because then they could return to being your opponent.


.
T'Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 25 2010, 08:25 PM   #5
Mr Silver
Rear Admiral
 
Location: UK
Re: Starfleet Phasers

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Its practically barbaric shooting at someone and watching them disintegrate, even during an armed conflict
Even the "stun" setting can kill, if you turn it all the way up. If you just regular stun someone, then if a certain amount of time they simply wake up. If you're on a battle field you don't want your opponent wake up later, because then they could return to being your opponent.
.
Very true (Stun at close range can kill as seen in TUC), however what i'm getting at is the Federation's "Preserving Life) policy which is contradicted by having such a blatant and almost shocking method of killing an adversary at their disposal, even on so called "Exploration Vessels"

Granted Starfleet need to protect themselves and during times of war sometimes the only option is to kill, however such a method of killing is pretty barbaric, especially as it leaves no trace of its victim (save some genetic residue)
Mr Silver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 25 2010, 09:24 PM   #6
T'Girl
Vice Admiral
 
T'Girl's Avatar
 
Re: Starfleet Phasers

Federation's "Preserving Life" policy

Like it or not, Starfleet is the armed forces of the Federation. Militaries can have a very harsh hardheaded view of the real world. It can be in the best interest of a enlighten civilization if it's enemies truly believe that they'll be killed in a painfully barbaric way, if they don't leave the enlighten civilization alone.

Lovely Republics are usual protected by very nasty men with guns.
T'Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 25 2010, 10:53 PM   #7
sojourner
Vice Admiral
 
sojourner's Avatar
 
Location: I'm at WKRP
Re: Starfleet Phasers

"Speak softly, carry a big stick"
__________________
Baby, you and me were never meant to be, just maybe think of me once in a while...
sojourner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26 2010, 08:36 PM   #8
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Starfleet Phasers

It might also be that it's technologically easy to deliver a charge that removes the target from this universe, but extremely challenging to deliver a carefully measured smaller charge that merely wounds or stuns the enemy. Say, it's easy to build a fission bomb that destroys a city - but very difficult to build one that merely destroys the door of a room you want to break into. Especially if the door can be of varying thicknesses, and perhaps armored against your attempts at entry.

So, stun guns might be the best way to fight a war, humanely and cleanly and swiftly and efficiently and all that. But it might not be technologically possible to build a reliable stun gun - the only types that would work reliably would be the ones delivering an assuredly lethal charge, and the ones delivering such a small charge that it wouldn't necessarily always stun. And the enemy would be complicating matters by arranging so that he could not be stunned, only killed - a shrewd maneuver when they know you hate to kill.

The fundamental problem is that it's pretty easy to kill (all you need is overkill, as the window for "force levels" needed for this is only limited from the lower end and infinitely wide from the upper) but very difficult to incapacitate without killing (because the window of "force levels" for this is very narrow). Otherwise, stunning would be quite practical in most styles of warfare. Or if your style of warfare doesn't allow for leaving the enemy combatants alive, you are probably also slave to a doctrine that calls for exterminating all the enemy babies, for the very same reason of "otherwise they will present a threat later on".

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26 2010, 09:36 PM   #9
FordSVT
Vice Admiral
 
FordSVT's Avatar
 
Location: Atlantic Canada
Re: Starfleet Phasers

madmatthias wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
Its practically barbaric shooting at someone and watching them disintegrate, even during an armed conflict
Even the "stun" setting can kill, if you turn it all the way up. If you just regular stun someone, then if a certain amount of time they simply wake up. If you're on a battle field you don't want your opponent wake up later, because then they could return to being your opponent.
.
Very true (Stun at close range can kill as seen in TUC), however what i'm getting at is the Federation's "Preserving Life) policy which is contradicted by having such a blatant and almost shocking method of killing an adversary at their disposal, even on so called "Exploration Vessels"

Granted Starfleet need to protect themselves and during times of war sometimes the only option is to kill, however such a method of killing is pretty barbaric, especially as it leaves no trace of its victim (save some genetic residue)
Using the maximum setting for disintegration wouldn't be very energy efficient in combat, same with very wide phaser beams at high settings. You might be able to kill 100 targets on one charge but only vaporise 5-10. In battle you'd want to be able to kill or wound as many targets as possible with a single charge. One might also imagine hardware ramifications to using heavy settings for prolonged periods of time.

And remember, the same setting that might vaporise an unshielded human might only crack the skin of some hostile alien species.
__________________
-FordSVT-
FordSVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27 2010, 03:03 AM   #10
T'Girl
Vice Admiral
 
T'Girl's Avatar
 
Re: Starfleet Phasers

FordSVT wrote: View Post
In battle you'd want to be able to kill or wound as many targets as possible with a single charge.
In Vietnam, enemy forces would sometime seek to injure, not kill, friendly forces. A wounded soldier would require care. medical attention, other soldiers to protect them, transportation, resources. During a protracted conflict, a stunned opponent would present some of these same problems, a unconscious opponent would have to be collected, guarded, transported to a central facility, maybe even fed. Otherwise, again, they just wake up to cause more difficultly.

There no telling if the stun effect consumes less power than the vaporize effect. The various explainations I've come up with for how the phaser works, I keep arriving at the conclusion that the stunner and the rest of the phaser are two separate weapons inside the same "housing," using the same power source.
T'Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 30 2010, 02:45 PM   #11
FordSVT
Vice Admiral
 
FordSVT's Avatar
 
Location: Atlantic Canada
Re: Starfleet Phasers

T'Girl wrote: View Post
There no telling if the stun effect consumes less power than the vaporize effect. The various explainations I've come up with for how the phaser works, I keep arriving at the conclusion that the stunner and the rest of the phaser are two separate weapons inside the same "housing," using the same power source.
Except, from every canon source we've seen, and from every licensed Trek product we've had access to, there is zero evidence to support the notion that the "stunner" part of the weapon is self contained and independent from the "lethal" part of it and plenty of evidence to suggest the opposite.

I don't see how you could make the supposition that one device that delivers a mild charge to the body would require the same amount of power when vapourizing someone or blowing up a rock face, that doesn't make any kind of sense at all from a physics POV.
__________________
-FordSVT-
FordSVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 1 2010, 09:46 AM   #12
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Starfleet Phasers

The stun gun is a separate barrel in the STXI sidearm and possibly in the "The Cage"/"Where No Man"/"Man Trap"/"What Are Little Girls" sidearm as well. Sounds eminently possible that it's a separate device built in the same casing. The more integrated looks of other guns certainly aren't strong counterevidence: if one wants to believe in the separate device model, one is free to do so, and can quote more evidence in favor than against.

I don't see how you could make the supposition that one device that delivers a mild charge to the body would require the same amount of power when vapourizing someone or blowing up a rock face, that doesn't make any kind of sense at all from a physics POV.
This assumes that stunning involves a mild charge. We have no idea what stunning really involves, though. Or vaporizing, for that matter. In VOY "Macrocosm", we learn that phaser beams can actually deliver physical matter to the target - something we earlier learned the Jem'Hadar rayguns can do as well. Perhaps the stun setting is all about delivering body-disabling chemicals into the victim? Or perhaps the stun beam indeed delivers a "mild charge" (whatever that is), but what is being delivered bears no relation to how strong a beam is needed for the delivering. That is, you need the same size of aircraft for delivering a 10,000 pound bomb or 10,000 pounds of stunningly effective propaganda leaflets...

Technobabble ever since TNG has established transporters as a "phase" technology. The raygun called phaser could simply be a weaponized transporter, with all the idiosyncrasies of that technology, only with a few corners cut because the thing being transported need not survive the process unmangled (probably the exact opposite result is desired!).

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 1 2010, 04:21 PM   #13
FordSVT
Vice Admiral
 
FordSVT's Avatar
 
Location: Atlantic Canada
Re: Starfleet Phasers

Come on now..... body disabling chemicals? I'm 100% positive the stun setting has nothing to do with injecting chemicals into people, it has never even remotely been described that way. Ever. We've heard the doctor characters describe in dialogue the effects a phaser had on subjects and they've never mentioned any kind of chemical agent. There could be hamsters in the warp drive, I guess, we've never seen evidence there isn't, right?

Most of these technobabble discussions are meaningless without a bit of common sense when making assumptions, that's why I figure it would take less energy to knock someone out for a few moments than vapourize 3 inches of steel or take out a shield emmiter, just like I assume it takes more energy to travel at warp 9.9 than it does at impulse. But hey, they've never explicitly stated that on screen either.

Oh, and the original Enterprise used it's main phaser batteries on a stun setting in "A Piece of the Action", a wide beam that knocked out a city block. Are you suggesting they delivered a chemical agent to those people? Or that the main phaser battery of the Enterprise has a separate stun device built alongside it in order to stun people? Is this a common thing for a starship to have to do, stun people on the ground? No, it sounds to me like the stun setting of a phaser is simply that: a method of calibrating the standard phaser beam to have that effect.
__________________
-FordSVT-
FordSVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 1 2010, 06:18 PM   #14
Crazy Eddie
Rear Admiral
 
Crazy Eddie's Avatar
 
Location: I'm in your ___, ___ing your ___
Re: Starfleet Phasers

Food for thought: the basic technology of Starfleet seems to involve the conscious and direct control of energy. Specifically, telling energy where to go and what to do when it gets there. You might call this "programmable energy" or something of the like.

You can therefore program a phaser beam to deliver its energy to a specific type of molecule (say, depolarizing every ion gate in a person's nervous system, triggering something akin to an epileptic seizure) and control how much energy it delivers to them. Thus I don't really believe that stun/kill is a matter of power level but a matter of programming: maximum "stun" probably draws exactly as much power as maximum "kill", only affecting organisms in different ways.

As to the basic question, my real belief is that the stun setting is the one and only phaser setting that is intended for use against life forms: the "anti-organism setting" on all standard phasers. A high enough stun setting may cause permanent neurological damage or even death under certain conditions, but the general point is that the normal use of phasers against organisms isn't to kill them at all, just incapacitate them (again, like a taser or something). Certain phaser types have other operating modes built into them as well; an "anti-material" setting, colloquially known as "disruptor setting" would deliver energy in a more general form, heating a target either evenly or in a very specific spot. This can be used for welding, cutting, making coffee, etc. It's not supposed to be used against other life forms, but like its cousin the chainsaw it can be deployed as a FORMIDABLE murder weapon.

I don't buy TNG technobabble about "phased out of this universe" for the vaporized setting. It rather appears to me that enough energy is delivered to a target to actually split most of its atoms and fission it into an aerosol of lighter elements that float away as dust. Since nuclear fission is an endothermic reaction in most materials, it is probably a very efficient but very environmentally hazardous way to kill something.
__________________
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Starfleet - Online Now!
Crazy Eddie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 2 2010, 07:31 AM   #15
FordSVT
Vice Admiral
 
FordSVT's Avatar
 
Location: Atlantic Canada
Re: Starfleet Phasers

If people were literally vapourized or fissioned out of existence, one would expect quite the violent explosion and release of gases. The water vapour alone would fill a good sized room with steam and yet we never see them do more than basically just glow and vanish, leaving behind a little residue on the floor.
__________________
-FordSVT-
FordSVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 02:42 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.