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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old April 18 2012, 08:31 AM   #1
Yevetha
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Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

My idea is that transporter technology is using ancient tech that only transports organics.

Otherwise why not just beam a bomb on the the enemies ship whenever you want to?
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Old April 18 2012, 08:33 AM   #2
Sho
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

^ Canon says you can't beam through shields. Except when they need to that week.
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Old April 18 2012, 08:34 AM   #3
lvsxy808
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

Because of the shields.
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Old April 18 2012, 09:27 AM   #4
Timo
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

I guess the problematic thing here is that transporters existed long before Earth ships first got shields. Yet in the TV series Enterprise, Klingons never beamed bombs onboard the unshielded hero vessel - while OTOH we never learned that mere hull polarizing would be able to stop transporting.

How does Treklit tackle the issue? Is polarizable armor given the property of blocking transporters in the novels? In the Romulan War, do the Romulans not know the secret of teleportation?

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Old April 18 2012, 11:36 AM   #5
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

Yevetha wrote: View Post
My idea is that transporter technology is using ancient tech that only transports organics.

Otherwise why not just beam a bomb on the the enemies ship whenever you want to?
That'd mean everyone would materialize naked, Terminator-style. Think of the cover art!

(and poor Data)


Stargate Atlantis covered bomb-beaming. The Wraith technobabbled a way to jam the signals after their second ship was destroyed. I imagine Trek species would catch on pretty quickly, too.

Voyager used it to blow up a small Borg ship in "Dark Frontier"
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Old April 18 2012, 01:39 PM   #6
Christopher
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

If shields didn't exist, the transporter would itself be a far more devastating and efficient weapon than any bomb. Think about it: if you abort the second half of the process, the transporter is the most effective, thorough disintegrator beam ever devised. Voyager established that it can beam up entire shuttlecraft, meaning its dematerialization beam is powerful enough to break the interatomic bonds of even the densest structural and shielding materials of a spacecraft. Not to mention that a transporter beam can actually act through solid barriers, and without line of sight! Talk about your ultimate precision weapon.

Alternatively, if an enemy ship had no shields, you could just use the transporter to disintegrate the entire crew (or beam them into space to suffocate, if you were mean-spirited) and capture the ship intact.

The transporter is a classic example of something that was introduced as a plot convenience but whose ramifications were never adequately explored. There are so many episodes where a ship's shields go down and the enemy just keeps firing phasers or disruptors. Standard battle tactics should be to go right to the transporter as a weapon the moment the enemy loses shields. But the writers don't think of that because they perceive the transporter only as, well, a transportation system.

Although, granted, you have to drop your own shields to use your transporter, so if the ship you're fighting has lost its shields but is still firing its weapons at you, then you'd have to limit yourself to conventional weapons. So I guess it makes sense in a lot of situations, but there are certainly ones where the option would exist and it just doesn't get used.
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Old April 18 2012, 02:09 PM   #7
Timo
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

One might argue that phasers are weaponized transporters, and get used instead of the personnel units because they are better optimized for destruction.

After all, a phaser also makes things mysteriously disappear (but doesn't bother with the reappearing thing), uses the weird "phase" phenomenon (down to the very name!), can teleport objects and substances (such as in "Macrocosm"), and can be interchangeable with an actual personnel transporter, with eyewitnesses none the wiser ("Gambit I").

Perhaps the engineers and soldiers of Trek have thought this through after all...

Timo Saloniemi
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Old April 18 2012, 05:11 PM   #8
The Wormhole
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Alternatively, if an enemy ship had no shields, you could just use the transporter to disintegrate the entire crew (or beam them into space to suffocate, if you were mean-spirited) and capture the ship intact.
Which actually did happen once on DS9. Or more accurately, Dukat beamed the crew of a Klingon BoP onto his freighter, then beamed his crew onto the BoP and destroyed the freighter.
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Old April 18 2012, 05:24 PM   #9
Christopher
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

And of course Kirk did use the transporter as a disintegrator beam to destroy Redjac, beaming the possessed (and dead) Hengist out on "widest dispersal." I always wondered why they didn't do the same when they beamed Nomad off the ship, instead letting it rematerialize and explode. Maybe it takes more time to program wide dispersal, since the transporter would surely have safeguards against such things.
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Old April 18 2012, 07:28 PM   #10
Pauln6
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

The problem is we know that ships don't fly around with their shields engaged all the time, TWoK being a prime example but even in NuTrek, Pike raises shields at the last minute. They've actually gone even further in nuTrek because the maximum distance you can transport has been magnified massively, which means ships (especially cloaked ships) could indeed use weaponised transporters from huge distances away long before unwary ships would even be aware a ship was there. It's a mess.

Personally I would do the following to put the genie back in teh bottle or at least to limit the circumstances in which transporters could be used:

1. Only allow transport from pad to pad, pad to set location, or from another location back to the pad if the person or object has a localised quantum scanner (contained in communicators or life sign monitors). So no beaming the captain of an enemy ship off his ship unless you managed to tag him first, no disintegrating sections of the enemy ship unless you tag them first etc. All ships scanners are set up to detect and block incoming transporter signals so no beaming onto ships unless you have been invited, you can mask the signal with a diversion, or your enemies automated defences are down (so nuKirk could only beam Nero's crew off if they sent a signal or were in the own transporter rooms). This does allow cloaked mines to be laid down for transporter traps... and now I think I have a plan for my next Star Trek comic story...

2. Objects are scanned, quantum linked with extradimensional energy, and phased into that dimension (i.e. replaced by that energy in our dimension) to avoid the kill and clone argument. The energy is contained in a confinement beam which can be transmitted to another location. When it reaches its destination the linked pattern reverts into our dimension, hence no strict need for a receiving pad. Energy will always leak from the beam so the person who returns is less than 100% of what was sent which could lead to the eventual death of the subject. A transporter pattern is kept on the transporting ship. The pattern on its own could only be used to replicate a brain dead version of the person. Upon return, the localised scanner scans the person and signals the ship, which uses the transporter beam to quantum link the individual again using the signal that has been sent. The pattern transported is compared to the pattern stored on the ship and any of the pattern that has leaked away in the two transports is replicated and added back in. If the pattern being beamed has degraded too much, the replicated matter is too much and the person dies. This still allows transporter duplicates caused by wierd malfunctions (so only part of Kirk's DNA reverted from the confinement beam, the malfunctioning scanner was unable to add so much missing material back so just replicated the DNA in the existing signal and Kirk's survival was both a fluke and temporary - it was implied that the two men would not survive as separate entities).

3. There is a limit to the amount of energy that can be quantum linked in a transporter beam so phasers and small equipment is fine but large explosive devices are likely to detonate during the conversion process. Most large devices are sent without being fully charged. Stored energy has to be stocked up manually at space stations and supply ships etc.
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Old April 18 2012, 09:20 PM   #11
Thrawn
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Alternatively, if an enemy ship had no shields, you could just use the transporter to disintegrate the entire crew (or beam them into space to suffocate, if you were mean-spirited) and capture the ship intact.
Which actually did happen once on DS9. Or more accurately, Dukat beamed the crew of a Klingon BoP onto his freighter, then beamed his crew onto the BoP and destroyed the freighter.
Which is actually a perfect example of what Christopher is talking about. If he was gonna kill them anyway, why rematerialize them at all? Writers are stuck thinking of it as only a transporter device, and ignoring the whole magic disintegration beam aspect.
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Old April 18 2012, 09:36 PM   #12
Timo
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

It should be more difficult for our heroes to rig an alien transporter to disperse its clients than to goad it to perform a standard A-to-B transport on them... Just like it would have been very difficult for Dukat to make the BoP disruptor cannon stun or tie up the Klingons, as opposed to blowing them up!

Weaponizing is something that should be extremely difficult to do on the standard personnel transporter, as the device would be designed to be idiotproof in its principal role, that of protecting the transportees at all costs. A special military transporter with deliberately lethal qualities could of course be constructed - but as said, perhaps we have already seen it, and it happens to be called "phaser"?

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Old April 18 2012, 09:38 PM   #13
Thrawn
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

^ That requires some hand-waving, but it's a pretty solid idea otherwise. I just want to know why phasers make visible beams that can't go through things and transporters make invisible beams that go through walls effortlessly.
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Old April 18 2012, 09:42 PM   #14
Timo
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

The glow of the phaser beams is not that different from the glow of a transporter beam at its two endpoints... And there's precious little indication that phaser beams don't penetrate. They tend to be very good at blowing up ships without making visible holes in them - at least until CGI comes along and allows us to see partial damage.

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Old April 18 2012, 10:13 PM   #15
Christopher
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Re: Can we retcon Transporter use in a way that it would make sense?

Thrawn wrote: View Post
I just want to know why phasers make visible beams that can't go through things and transporters make invisible beams that go through walls effortlessly.
Transporter beams operate through subspace, evidently.
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