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

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Old August 20 2012, 06:18 PM   #16
Christopher
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Re: Voyager's armor

Markonian wrote: View Post
I'm surprised how impractical the armor in fact is. In "Endgame", I perceived it as the ultimate defense, too.
Which surprises me, since even within the episode, the Borg adapted to the armor pretty quickly, so any advantage it gave was brief at best. Even in the first battle, before the Borg adapted, the armor was down to 40% integrity in less than a minute. It was never presented as "the ultimate defense," merely as a limited advantage that would delay their destruction long enough to run the Borg's gauntlet and get past it.
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Old August 20 2012, 09:41 PM   #17
jedimaster
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

If so I find it much preferable to "polarizing" the hull that Enterprise tried pulling, another B & B move.
Oh, no, that actually bears some similarity to a real-world principle. I can't remember the details, but I've heard about something that's really used in tanks today, or at least is in prototype, that uses some kind of magnetic or electric field to strengthen the atomic bonds in armor and make it more durable. I've also read recently about a different technology that uses a magnetic field to soften the impact of an exploding shell so it does less damage. So "polarizing the hull plating" is something I can actually buy into as credible. (And it has a Trek precedent too, since it's a similar principle to the structural integrity fields used in the 24th century.)[/QUOTE]

I was reminded of the Night's Dawn Trilogy where the durabilty of Starships and the armor of ground troops can be enhanced by 'valency-bonding generators' presumably applying a field which enhances molecular binding forces between atoms.

This always struck me as a bit closer to reality than shields, although admittedley not as useful for a Deus Ex Machina for any tech problems in a script.
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Old August 20 2012, 10:51 PM   #18
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

Pre-Voyager Star Trek has certainly used the idea of a super-strong hull to protect against weapons fire. The Original Series "Planet Killer" had a "neutronium" hull that made standard weapons-fire useless. The material has been mentioned occasionally throughout the years:

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Neutronium
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Old August 20 2012, 11:20 PM   #19
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

^Except most of the references to neutronium, especially its use in DS9, make no sense. Neutronium is the stuff neutron stars are (partly) made of. It's so dense that a spoonful would have the mass of a mountain. Its own gravity would pull it into a sphere, so it couldn't have the shape of the Doomsday Machine. And if you made a door out of the stuff, like the door to the Dominion stronghold in "What You Leave Behind," it would instantly plummet through the planet's crust and sink to the center. That is, if such a small amount of neutronium could stably survive at all, which it couldn't, because its own internal degeneracy pressure would cause it to explode back into normal matter.

Which is why, in The Buried Age, I explained the references to "neutronium" as actually being "hyponeutronium" (a term I cribbed from Diane Duane), a nickname for an alloy of dense, stable transuranic elements with nuclei made mostly of neutrons.
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Old August 21 2012, 09:28 AM   #20
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

About the armour.... was it ever stated it was a pure Borg-defense? I mean, yeah, the transphasic torpedoes were, and the Borg couldn't adapt to them. But the shielding could be pretty new, maybe even a prptotype. Perhaps that's why Admiral Janeway took that shuttle, thinking it might work against the Borg, but was never tested properly against them.
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Old August 21 2012, 01:12 PM   #21
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

Well, the armor was initially used to defend Admiral Janeway's shuttle against the ship that tried to stop her from going back in time. But Seven does say, "The technology aboard the Admiral's ship is impressive. Much of it appears to have been designed to defend against the Borg." It's never made completely explicit that the armor was specifically a Borg defense, but that does seem to be the implication.

Even so, there's no reason to treat it as a default assumption that the armor is some kind of ultimate defense. And there are plenty of reasons not to want the armor to be used again.
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Old August 21 2012, 01:28 PM   #22
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

The underlying technology could have other uses. If, as it appears, it uses replicator technology to materialize armour onto the hull, surely it could be used to instantly repair hull breaches by replacing entire bulkheads in a flash?

Or is it maybe holographic armour and not "real" at all?
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Old August 21 2012, 01:37 PM   #23
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

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The underlying technology could have other uses. If, as it appears, it uses replicator technology to materialize armour onto the hull, surely it could be used to instantly repair hull breaches by replacing entire bulkheads in a flash?
Sure, that could be useful. But as I tried to get across with my comparison with the Defiant's ablative armor, the problem is with the specific execution. There are ways that something with certain similarities could be done plausibly and well, but this was not.


Or is it maybe holographic armour and not "real" at all?
Which would make it just a forcefield disguised to look like solid matter, so why not just make it a forcefield?
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Old August 21 2012, 06:00 PM   #24
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

Christopher wrote: View Post
And if you made a door out of the stuff, like the door to the Dominion stronghold in "What You Leave Behind," it would instantly plummet through the planet's crust and sink to the center.
Vorta engineer: Damn, that's the third time that's happened!
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Old August 23 2012, 07:34 AM   #25
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Except most of the references to neutronium, especially its use in DS9, make no sense. Neutronium is the stuff neutron stars are (partly) made of. It's so dense that a spoonful would have the mass of a mountain. Its own gravity would pull it into a sphere, so it couldn't have the shape of the Doomsday Machine. And if you made a door out of the stuff, like the door to the Dominion stronghold in "What You Leave Behind," it would instantly plummet through the planet's crust and sink to the center. That is, if such a small amount of neutronium could stably survive at all, which it couldn't, because its own internal degeneracy pressure would cause it to explode back into normal matter.

Which is why, in The Buried Age, I explained the references to "neutronium" as actually being "hyponeutronium" (a term I cribbed from Diane Duane), a nickname for an alloy of dense, stable transuranic elements with nuclei made mostly of neutrons.
Is it necessary to retcon away the various parts of previous episodes in the name of more made up science?

Should Spock now be written as a full blooded Vulcan who was simply raised by a human mother in the name of more realistic biology? Would he be as interesting a character if his background was simply "Nature vs nurture" as opposed to being a Human/Vulcan hybrid?

What's wrong with Michael Okuda, explaining how the Heisenberg Compensators work, simply saying "Very well, thank you"?

If you're going to get ride of the ludicrous science in the name of reality then we can say goodbye to warp drive, phasers, McCoy's magic healing rays transporters, subspace radio....

If you want to add your own threads to the tapestry that is Trek and make it based on real world science then feel free but I don't see the need to overwrite what has come before. I'm smart enough to recognize when Trek is handing me a beaker full of Bolognium.
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Old August 23 2012, 09:58 AM   #26
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

^There's a huge difference between replacing a few words of ultimately inconsequntial impossible technobabble for something a little more plausible, and making the big changes to the universe you're describing.
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Old August 23 2012, 07:47 PM   #27
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
^There's a huge difference between replacing a few words of ultimately inconsequntial impossible technobabble for something a little more plausible, and making the big changes to the universe you're describing.
Christopher must not have thought it was inconsequential or he wouldn't have changed it.

Norman Spinrad wrote that it was neutronium. Therefore, it's neutronium. Accept it, technobabble some way around it without changing it or simply ignore it. Don't rewrite the past.

What's next, using CGI to replace Shatner, Nimoy and the rest of the cast with Pine, Quinto and the others? Doing so wouldn't change the stories after all.
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Old August 24 2012, 04:05 PM   #28
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

And originally the Enterprise used lithium in its energy reactors (whatever they were at that stage in the production). But it was quickly realized that using a real element with known properties was going to restrict story-telling potential. So they created dilithium, possessing any potential properties the writers might need in the future.

Similarly, neutronium is a real thing, with known properties. It couldn't be a hull material; better to invent hyponeutronium with whatever properties the story might require (including being able to be made into hulls and doors).
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Old August 24 2012, 04:34 PM   #29
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

RPJOB wrote: View Post
Christopher must not have thought it was inconsequential or he wouldn't have changed it.

Norman Spinrad wrote that it was neutronium. Therefore, it's neutronium. Accept it, technobabble some way around it without changing it or simply ignore it. Don't rewrite the past.
In "The Cage", the Enterprise crew were armed with lasers. By the time they started the series proper, they changed the name to phaser because lasers don't do the cool things or work the way TPTB wanted them to.

These are minor retcons. It's not like it makes any more difference to the overall tapestry of Trek than Kirk's middle initial being R or T.
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Old August 24 2012, 09:19 PM   #30
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Re: Transphasic shields in the novels

Both lithium -> dilithium and lasers -> phasers were done early in the run by the people who were making the show. It was part of the evolution that any such show undergoes. TOS is a finished work and has been for over 40 years. Accept it for what it was. Trying to "fix" things just seems unnecessary. It ain't broken. It is what it is. Like I said before, should we now CGI the faces of the crew from the last movie over Shatner, Nimoy, etc? Should the uniforms be CGI'ed with the little delta pattern? Sjould the random blinky lights on the bridge be replaced with more modern displays?

If someone wanted to creadte a new artifact that used hyponeutronium then more power to them. The books should be there to expand the universe, not change what someone perceives as an error or a flaw or what have you.
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