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Old October 26 2012, 08:01 AM   #91
Timo
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

The thing is, about 74.5% of Trek plots would simply be gone if our heroes couldn't see what was happening around them in real time. No deviating from course to examine an odd reading, a shipwreck, a planet that didn't exist two days ago. No way to track a fugitive. No chance to stop an invader. And no way to contact home base for interesting new assignments (unless one postulated a system that can be used for realtime communications but not for realtime sensing, which would exhaust the salt deposits of Utah).

Nearly everything about Trek's futuro-tech is "dependent on plot needs" anyway, including warp drive, Starfleet regulations, Federation political and economical structure, interstellar alliances and animosities, and the biology of the heroes and villains. There's no inherent downside to that. All it takes is a bit of bookkeeping.

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Old October 26 2012, 06:55 PM   #92
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Timo wrote: View Post
The thing is, about 74.5% of Trek plots would simply be gone if our heroes couldn't see what was happening around them in real time. No deviating from course to examine an odd reading, a shipwreck, a planet that didn't exist two days ago. No way to track a fugitive. No chance to stop an invader. And no way to contact home base for interesting new assignments (unless one postulated a system that can be used for realtime communications but not for realtime sensing, which would exhaust the salt deposits of Utah).
No, the same plots would exist, they would just have to be established with a bit of forethought instead of a random "sensors are picking up a planet that wasn't there two days ago." A really great example of this is "The Corbomite Maneuver" where the destruction of the Marker Buoy has a brief interlude several minutes long during which Kirk is able to go below, grab a sandwich and chat with McCoy before the Fesarius actually catches up with them. Had this been, say, a Voyager episode, Fesarius would have right on top of them after 15 seconds of dramatic music.

In such cases, starships would either have to rely more on long range probes (whose subspace signals can travel faster than light) or writers would have to take care to build the passage of time into the script itself instead of compressing the entire event into a single scene (much like the "Hail them." "No Response" thing). The time it takes for your science officer to receive back the scanning pulse is time that could be spent on strategizing, looking up records, or even -- GASP -- character development!

OTOH, those stories may not require instant cognition anyway, they would merely require reducing the size of the Trek universe so that "We're the only ship in the area" really just means "there's another ship in a neighboring system, but they're too far away to help."

Nearly everything about Trek's futuro-tech is "dependent on plot needs" anyway, including warp drive, Starfleet regulations, Federation political and economical structure, interstellar alliances and animosities, and the biology of the heroes and villains. There's no inherent downside to that. All it takes is a bit of bookkeeping.
The inherent downside is that the story elements themselves become unimportant window dressing to what is essentially a sci-fi morality play (e.g. Gangster Planet, Black and White guys, Yangs vs. Kohms, etc). If the background and scenery matters at all, it needs to be set it stone first and not shifted around all the time for writers' convenience. If it DOESN'T matter, then there's no real point to having each episode take place on the same ship with the same characters in the same fictional universe; Star Trek becomes a fancier space-based "The Outer Limits."

If you're going to have a consistent setting over a number of years, the most commonly recurring plot devices need to be set in stone. Not just for the audience, but for the writers; in later years in TNG they ran into situations where even the writers couldn't remember how half their technology worked and wound up either contradicting earlier stories or pulling technobabble out of thin air to serve as temporary plot devices.
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Old October 26 2012, 08:31 PM   #93
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

In TOS, I'm not seeing what the problem is. Even with FTL sensors, they are range limited so a starship still would need to get close to the "story" to get a reading.

TNG and onwards I think still had a range limit although they threw a whole lot more technobabble filler in there. <shrugs>
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Old October 29 2012, 07:37 AM   #94
Timo
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

The time it takes for your science officer to receive back the scanning pulse is...
...Decades.

You can't have any sort of starship TV adventures with STL sensors. It just won't work.

The distinction you seem to desire is clearly not between STL and FTL sensors, it's between insanely fast FTL and ridiculously fast FTL. And that distinction, while dramatically possibly quite significant (say, giving Kirk time to grab that sandwich), is in absolutely no way related to "forethought" or "pre-establishing". In all situations, the plot dictates whether Kirk be eating sandwich or barely having time to blink; the facts will wrap themselves around that necessity.

If the background and scenery matters at all, it needs to be set it stone first and not shifted around all the time for writers' convenience.
That isn't so even in historical fiction: if drama so requires, it is always possible to insert a faster than usual horse messenger, a ship that bravely sails during the winter under unusual calm, a mercenary who fights on credit for an unusually long while, or a castle that wasn't really quite there. The background becomes the more interesting when its dramatic role gets highlighted by an exception. Or when it gets deliberately exaggerated and stretched, such as every incident in a Wild West town being decided on the intervention of the local cavalry when the show is about the cavalry.

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Old October 29 2012, 07:32 PM   #95
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Timo wrote: View Post
The time it takes for your science officer to receive back the scanning pulse is...
...Decades.
* Buzz * Wrong. We would have accepted "minutes" or "hours" or possibly even "days." It's really just a practical limit to how close something has to be before you can scan it.

More importantly, if your ship travels considerably faster than your scanning pulse, it is nearly always more efficient to warp over to an area of interest and scan at close range anyway.

You can't have any sort of starship TV adventures with STL sensors.
Really? Because just off the top of my head I can think of at least three that DO.

The distinction you seem to desire is clearly not between STL and FTL sensors, it's between insanely fast FTL and ridiculously fast FTL.
No, it's between STL and FTL sensor devices. If I meant otherwise, I would have said as much.

If the background and scenery matters at all, it needs to be set it stone first and not shifted around all the time for writers' convenience.
That isn't so even in historical fiction: if drama so requires, it is always possible to insert a faster than usual horse messenger
Which has to be established ahead of time as an addition to the scenery. Nowhere in historical fiction do you see a messenger on a horse breaking the sound barrier just so the General can get a faster reply from his Lieutenant on the other side of town (so the rider leaves and returns in the same scene). You see that a lot in satire -- Monty Python, for example -- but not historical fiction.

The background becomes the more interesting when its dramatic role gets highlighted by an exception.
Yes, a pre-established exception that is part of the setting. What we're basically discussing is the captain of a 17th century ship who possesses a telescope that can see through walls, read body heat, detect objects on the bottom of the ocean or do whatever else the Captain wants it to do. You can either make it a gimmick that the Captain has this telescope that does practically everything (a la the Sonic Screwdriver) or you scale it back and make it a "more powerful than usual telescope."

Star Trek stories insert too many arbitrary limitations on sensor devices to take the former approach. Your sensors can scan through deflector shields, but they can't scan through magnetic fields; your sensors can track individual biosigns and tell them apart, but they can't get a transporter lock in the rain; your sensors can tell the difference between vulcans and Romulans in season 3, but can't do it in season 4.

These are problems you have when you never make up your mind what a scenery element actually does. One needs to either define its capabilities or define its limitations, but leaving it undefined invites random asspulls when the writers run out of ideas.
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Old October 30 2012, 08:28 AM   #96
Timo
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

It's really just a practical limit to how close something has to be before you can scan it.
But there goes realism out of the airlock already (explosively decompressing in a particularly unconvincing way). Nothing interesting in space is just light-minutes away.

Not unless you already decided at the start of the mission to concentrate your attention on that specific thing. But that is exactly what results in 74.5% of the plots becoming flat out impossible. Surprises are categorically ruled out when you fly with a blindfold on and only take it off at the destination.

No, it's between STL and FTL sensor devices. If I meant otherwise, I would have said as much.
Naah. You just happen to have an incorrect understanding of what you want.

In order to get the plot to the ship for the next episode, the plot has to travel between stars in a matter of days or weeks at the very most. That's the very basic starting point, FTL by definition already.

One needs to either define its capabilities or define its limitations, but leaving it undefined invites random asspulls when the writers run out of ideas.
There is no upside to defining a Trek gimmick's limitations down to the sort of accuracy you desire. These things are not supposed to be one-trick ponies: there is no story utility to a sensor that only presents infrared images or other such nonsense. So, given the dramatically required levels of overall versatility, slapping a specific limitation on minor things such as speed or range would be just odd.

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Old October 30 2012, 03:52 PM   #97
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Timo wrote: View Post
It's really just a practical limit to how close something has to be before you can scan it.
But there goes realism out of the airlock already (explosively decompressing in a particularly unconvincing way). Nothing interesting in space is just light-minutes away.
Of course it is. You just happen to BE a few light minutes away when you notice it.

Remember, Star Trek is about exploration, not astronomy.

Surprises are categorically ruled out when you fly with a blindfold on and only take it off at the destination.
Actually, warping into a solar system and taking off the "blindfold" only to discover that, say, every planet in that solar system has been reduced to rubble is, IMO, a surprise. Or, in a more straightforward example, you drop out of warp in a solar system and the first thing you see is a giant amoeba eating the sun (and nobody's left to wonder why Starfleet's subspace telescopes didn't see that coming).

What's really interesting, though, is that 90% of Trek plots MOSTLY behave as if the sensors were STL anyway. The three greatest examples being "Best of Both Worlds" where Enterprise can't scan the fleet until after they've dropped out of warp, and also "The Arsenal of Freedom" where Enterprise doesn't scan the surface of Minos until AFTER it enters standard orbit (however, it is implied to have launched a probe there prior to warping into orbit). The most glaring example is, ironically, "The Battle," not because of the Picard Maneuver (although that is a major one) but because Enterprise fails to detect the Stargazer until it's about three minutes away under impulse power. In this last example, that practical sensor range depends a lot on what kind of speed impulse power actually implies. If it's the high relativistic velocities of the tech manual, Stargazer would have been about half an AU away when Wesley spotted it; if -- more likely -- those are relatively gentle orbital velocities (5 to 10 or 15km/s) then Wesley spotted it a few thousand kilometers away.

In either case, "something interesting" is happening close enough that the sensors don't need to be FTL at all; the distances involved are far too short to allow that.

No, it's between STL and FTL sensor devices. If I meant otherwise, I would have said as much.
Naah. You just happen to have an incorrect understanding of what you want.
Well then, the next time I have an opinion I'll ask YOU what it is since you clearly understand what I think better than I do.

In order to get the plot to the ship for the next episode, the plot has to travel between stars in a matter of days or weeks at the very most. That's the very basic starting point, FTL by definition already.
Yes, FTL propulsion. Nowhere in that is FTL sensor capability in any way necessary.

One needs to either define its capabilities or define its limitations, but leaving it undefined invites random asspulls when the writers run out of ideas.
There is no upside to defining a Trek gimmick's limitations down to the sort of accuracy you desire. These things are not supposed to be one-trick ponies...
But that's exactly what they become when you assign qualities to them for a specific plot purpose and then never use those qualities again. That's the reason the Picard Maneuver ceased to be a viable tactic after "The Battle": because subsequent writers forgot about it.

When those capabilities are defined ahead of time -- or even when additional writing slightly modifies those capabilities -- keeping track of them is a way of preventing "one-and-done" plot contrivances. Thus people shouldn't be grumbling themselves "Funny how the lifeform sensors only work when there isn't a squad of guys laying in ambush..." That one would already be covered (e.g. "Can't scan through walls from orbit" or "Can't tell the difference between animals and people.")

there is no story utility to a sensor that only presents infrared images or other such nonsense.
Of course there is: your sensors are limited, therefore you have to beam down to the surface with a tricorder and see for yourself. They already do this as a matter of course; the upshot here is that they really don't have any other choice, and beaming down is the ONLY way to find out what's there.
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Old October 31 2012, 02:18 PM   #98
blssdwlf
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
That's the reason the Picard Maneuver ceased to be a viable tactic after "The Battle": because subsequent writers forgot about it.
Upon watching "The Battle" again, I think I had mistook the Picard Maneuver as an FTL trick against LS sensors. But the dialogue makes it sound more like a limitation on how the FTL sensors work on the Ferengi ships and E-D. A "maximum warp speed" hop seems to be required to trick the sensors. Of course that doesn't address the obvious points of either firing on both images or shoot the closest one
DATA: You performed what Starfleet textbooks now refer to as the Picard Maneuver.
PICARD: Well, I did what any good helmsman would have done. I dropped into high warp, stopped right off the enemy vessel's bow and fired with everything I had.
RIKER: And blowing into maximum warp speed, you appeared for an instant to be in two places at once.
PICARD: And our attacker fired on the wrong one.
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Old October 31 2012, 08:44 PM   #99
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Based on the dialog in that same episode: a vessel traveling at warp "seems to disappear." And picard describes it as "what any good helmsman would have done."

The operative trick in the Picard Maneuver is to momentarily avoid detection with a short-distance warp hop, giving you just enough time to get into firing position and the bad guys insufficient time to obtain a new firing solution. We can derive from this that a starship's sensors cannot really track a vessel moving at FTL velocity; the ship instantly outruns its own reflection (whatever EM signature the sensors are using to image it) and for all intents and purposes doesn't have a real location in time and space until it stops.

So even if the Ferengi had realized what was happening, there'd be a moment where they have to release the weapons lock on the first image and get the computer to treat the second image as a new target, lock on and fire. Stargazer drops out of warp with only a single target and can more quickly get a firing solution, giving it the initiative. All of this, again, depends on the sensors not being able to track a ship moving faster than light, and more importantly, being dependent on radiation that moves at light speed.
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Old November 1 2012, 05:14 AM   #100
blssdwlf
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Well, let's see. Did the Ferengi have FTL sensors? Yes, it must have in order for them to lie in wait at a moon, spot the Stargazer traveling by at Warp 2 and then catch up and attack it.
PICARD: We were traveling at warp two through the Maxia Zeta star system when this unidentified starship suddenly appeared and fired on us, point-blank range.

RIKER: Where did it come from?

PICARD: It must have been lying in some deep moon crater. First attack damaged the shields. In the confusion, they hit us a second time.
And what was required of the Picard Maneuver?
1. High Warp
2. The Enemy choosing the wrong target to fire at.
3. Possibly some kind of timing for a sensor bearing "return arc".
PICARD: I improvised. With the enemy vessel coming in for the kill, I ordered a sensor bearing, and when it went into the return arc

DATA: You performed what Starfleet textbooks now refer to as the Picard Maneuver.

PICARD: Well, I did what any good helmsman would have done. I dropped into high warp, stopped right off the enemy vessel's bow and fired with everything I had.

RIKER: And blowing into maximum warp speed, you appeared for an instant to be in two places at once.

PICARD: And our attacker fired on the wrong one.
How does "seem to disappear" fit into this?

It would still have to be at "high warp" and "appear at two places at one time". The main viewer clearly showed it in action and that "seem to disappear" could be the instant the ship hopped into high warp, possible timed with a sensor pulse return to then "suddenly appear" again in a different spot. The enemy ship could still be running FTL sensors but a high warp hop could've occurred between FTL sensor readings leading to a "seeming disappearance". The main viewer does show that the E-D had no problem tracking the hop though. So that would leave crew error in targeting the wrong ship, not necessarily a timing problem in re-targeting ships.
DATA: I have computed a possibility, Commander. Since even deep space contains trace gases, sir, a vessel in the Picard maneuver might seem to disappear, but our sensors could locate any sudden compression of those gases.

All, IMHO, of course
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Old November 1 2012, 07:24 AM   #101
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Well, let's see. Did the Ferengi have FTL sensors? Yes, it must have in order for them to lie in wait at a moon, spot the Stargazer traveling by at Warp 2 and then catch up and attack it.
Not necessarily. It's a bit more likely that Stargazer dropped out of warp for a moment -- for whatever reason Picard didn't bother to mention -- and the Ferengi ship dropped out of warp at point blank range and opened fire. That would be somewhat consistent with the Ferengi lying in wait to ambush the first passing ship that happened by, especially if Stargazer's deceleration point was something they could predict ahead of time (after all, how many deep moon craters just happen to be perfectly positioned in a solar system where a passing ship will fly over them at warp speed?)

Probably had something to do with what Stargazer was doing in the system in the first place, and why she originally stopped.

And what was required of the Picard Maneuver?
1. High Warp
2. The Enemy choosing the wrong target to fire at.
3. Possibly some kind of timing for a sensor bearing "return arc".
The wrong choice doesn't seem all that relevant, it's just something Riker happens to find really amusing. Data even says, later, that there is no known counter to the Picard Maneuver, which implicitly rules out "just fire at the closer image." The logical conclusion is that the maneuver works the way it does because theoretically you don't have time to fire on EITHER image before your attacker cripples you, in which case it was the Ferengi's last spiteful shot -- as their ship was exploding around them -- that was aimed at the wrong target.

How does "seem to disappear" fit into this?
It's what Data says later in the episode when Stargazer tries it on the Enterprise. The clear implication is that under normal circumstances you cannot track a starship moving towards you at high warp speed.

The main viewer does show that the E-D had no problem tracking the hop though.
AFTER Data reprogrammed the sensors to scan for a gas compression and focus their attention on that. Under normal circumstances, there'd probably just be a flash of light as the second Stargazer image suddenly appeared and opened fire.

And again, the issue is that the sensors won't detect Stargazer's new position until it drops back to sublight speed. The whole while it's at warp, it appears to still be sitting in its original position, not moving at all. Scanning for a sudden compression of gases gives those sensors just enough warning -- milliseconds, really -- of where stargazer is about to be.

Something else to consider here is that Picard's account of the battle implies a lot of warp maneuvering is going on her, with some sudden stops and starts as ships jump in and out of firing position. Stargazer either stops or is forced out of warp by the Ferengi, but it's just as evident that the Ferengi conclude their first attack by jumping to warp and flying to the edge of Stargazer's sensor range, then returning and coming in for a second, very sudden attack. They do this again, sweep out to a far out position, but this time Picard uses their own trick against them and jumps into their face at warp speed, hammering them before they can respond. In this case, that would support the idea that their "firing on the wrong target" was a misplaced parting shot from an already defeated foe and is otherwise the only reason Picard survived to tell the tale. But it also emphasizes the point that neither vessel can fully track the other at warp speed: one way or the other, they can only shoot at each other if their relative velocities are sublight, and warp strafing a la TOS is out of the question.

I could see one other possibility, though: it could be possible -- after a fashion -- to track a vessel that is moving AWAY from you or even perpendicular to you at warp using only STL sensors. The image would be highly distorted and its exact location would be unknowable, but determining its course and speed would be pretty straightforward. You couldn't track it, exactly, but you could FOLLOW it, and with that possibility, the need for FTL sensors in TNG utterly disappears: even the listening posts that seem to be tracking approaching starships at warp speed could just as easily be conventional telescopes or sensor mounts placed at strategic positions that can sound the alarm if anything flies past them at warp speed.
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Old November 1 2012, 02:13 PM   #102
blssdwlf
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Well, let's see. Did the Ferengi have FTL sensors? Yes, it must have in order for them to lie in wait at a moon, spot the Stargazer traveling by at Warp 2 and then catch up and attack it.
Not necessarily. It's a bit more likely that Stargazer dropped out of warp for a moment -- for whatever reason Picard didn't bother to mention -- and the Ferengi ship dropped out of warp at point blank range and opened fire.
Picard was pretty clear in saying that they were "traveling at warp 2 through the system".

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
And what was required of the Picard Maneuver?
1. High Warp
2. The Enemy choosing the wrong target to fire at.
3. Possibly some kind of timing for a sensor bearing "return arc".
The wrong choice doesn't seem all that relevant, it's just something Riker happens to find really amusing. Data even says, later, that there is no known counter to the Picard Maneuver, which implicitly rules out "just fire at the closer image."
But what does that mean about no known counter? Does that mean no known defense to it or no known counter-attack to it? Riker's choice in addition to the tractor beam is focusing the shield protection as well. It could be no known counter to the Picard Maneuver includes the inability to allocate shield reinforcements.
RIKER: Right. Concentrate shields at that point. Make it so. I hope you're right, Data.
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
The logical conclusion is that the maneuver works the way it does because theoretically you don't have time to fire on EITHER image before your attacker cripples you, in which case it was the Ferengi's last spiteful shot -- as their ship was exploding around them -- that was aimed at the wrong target.
That cannot be the case since the dialogue states the Ferengi chose the wrong target and when same maneuver is used on the E-D they clearly had time to see the action. However since weapons lock and fire still require human interaction it may have been too slow for Worf to make a decision and push the necessary buttons (as his reaction) to use the tractor beams. Data, or the fore-knowledge of the maneuver with computer preset, could beat the timing as seen in the episode.

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
How does "seem to disappear" fit into this?
It's what Data says later in the episode when Stargazer tries it on the Enterprise. The clear implication is that under normal circumstances you cannot track a starship moving towards you at high warp speed.
Right, "high" warp speed. Not just any old "Warp 1" hop.

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
The main viewer does show that the E-D had no problem tracking the hop though.
AFTER Data reprogrammed the sensors to scan for a gas compression and focus their attention on that. Under normal circumstances, there'd probably just be a flash of light as the second Stargazer image suddenly appeared and opened fire.
By scanning for the gas compression, the sensors are still reporting back in the FTL movement as it was tracking the movement vector in real-time. So, still FTL sensors are in play.

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
And again, the issue is that the sensors won't detect Stargazer's new position until it drops back to sublight speed. The whole while it's at warp, it appears to still be sitting in its original position, not moving at all. Scanning for a sudden compression of gases gives those sensors just enough warning -- milliseconds, really -- of where stargazer is about to be.
I would argue that the sensors are at a minimum tracking the new position because it is animating the warp lines (or direction) in real-time prior to the new image solidifying. The issue is that the sensors or computer does not erase the old image which would suggest that it had not refreshed it's position data and treated them both as legitimate targets for a brief moment.

If we were to put together a picture of the battle in Picard's own words:
PICARD: We were traveling at warp two through the Maxia Zeta star system when this unidentified starship suddenly appeared and fired on us, point-blank range.
RIKER: Where did it come from?
PICARD: It must have been lying in some deep moon crater. First attack damaged the shields. In the confusion, they hit us a second time.
TASHA: No clue who they were?
PICARD: No names, no reason. Can you identify them, Vigo? If they come in a second time with our shields damaged
TROI: Sir? Who's Vigo?
PICARD: He's my weapons officer on the Stargazer. I'm getting quite caught up in this.
RIKER: Your shields were failing, sir.
PICARD: I improvised. With the enemy vessel coming in for the kill, I ordered a sensor bearing, and when it went into the return arc
DATA: You performed what Starfleet textbooks now refer to as the Picard Maneuver
PICARD: Well, I did what any good helmsman would have done. I dropped into high warp, stopped right off the enemy vessel's bow and fired with everything I had.
RIKER: And blowing into maximum warp speed, you appeared for an instant to be in two places at once.
PICARD: And our attacker fired on the wrong one.
And how Picard remembers it in the chronological order prior to executing the maneuver:
PICARD: Damn, I said put fusion generators under surge control. You're moving too slowly. Arm the torpedoes, man!
Vigo! Get a fire control party up here!
VOICES [OC]: Shields weakening, Captain! Fusion generator online.
PICARD: Weapons report!
VOICE [OC]: Phasers coming to full charge, sir. Torpedoes armed!
PICARD: Who are they? Identify them!
VOICE [OC]: They're coming for a third pass at us, sir!
VOICE [OC]: We can't take another hit, Captain!

...

PICARD: Damage report!
VOICE [OC] Fusion generator under surge control, sir! Power systems failing!
PICARD: Sensor beam bearing on hostile ship!
VOICE [OC] Seven mark nineteen, sir!
VOICE [OC]: Phasers, sir? Sir?
PICARD: Ready phasers, and lock! Stand by on warp nine. Heading seven, seven mark twenty. Engage.
PICARD: Steady. Now, reverse and stop! Phasers fire, torpedoes away! Fire. Fire.

In the final moments we do not know if the Stargazer was still at warp or at sublight but they jumped to Warp 9 for the maneuver. But we can see from the dialogue that Picard and crew were following whatever maneuvers the Ferengi were doing during the attacks.

In re-examining the episode, it reads more like the maneuver uses a sudden high warp move to confuse enemy sensors, both FTL and LS and the computers that monitor them leading to forced errors on the enemy crew. It does not appear to be a FTL ship taking advantage of LS sensors, IMHO.
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Old November 1 2012, 02:31 PM   #103
Timo
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Essentially, "The Battle" is our only plotline ever where FTL sensors for conducting combat would not seem to be in evidence. And even there, their lack is only implied in the brief Picard Maneuver, not in the overall conduct of the battle.

It shouldn't be all that fruitful to start claiming that FTL sensing is generally absent, then. Nor does the episode pose significant problems on assuming that FTL sensing was temporarily knocked out (again, remember Picard's false but supposedly convincing log about mistaking a sensor cluster for a weapons array?).

Of course, the Maneuver would work just fine in an all-FTL environment, too, as long as the ship was faster than the sensor beams. Sensors working at warp 8 would probably be fooled by a warp 9 dash even more extremely than sensors working at LS would be fooled by a warp 2 dash, considering the nature of the warp scale.

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Old November 1 2012, 08:17 PM   #104
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Well, let's see. Did the Ferengi have FTL sensors? Yes, it must have in order for them to lie in wait at a moon, spot the Stargazer traveling by at Warp 2 and then catch up and attack it.
Not necessarily. It's a bit more likely that Stargazer dropped out of warp for a moment -- for whatever reason Picard didn't bother to mention -- and the Ferengi ship dropped out of warp at point blank range and opened fire.
Picard was pretty clear in saying that they were "traveling at warp 2 through the system".
But he's still pretty short on details. He does not, for example, ever mention when or if Stargazer dropped OUT of warp, despite the fact that it clearly did.

But what does that mean about no known counter? Does that mean no known defense to it or no known counter-attack to it?
Both.

Riker's choice in addition to the tractor beam is focusing the shield protection as well.
As an alternative to using the compression wave as an aiming point to "blow our captain to bits." And even that's only possible because the Galaxy class is a lot more powerful than Stargazer.

That cannot be the case since the dialogue states the Ferengi chose the wrong target and when same maneuver is used on the E-D they clearly had time to see the action.
If that's the case, then scanning for compressed gasses would be totally unnecessary; Riker asks Data for a way to counter the Picard Maneuver and Data would immediately say "Aim for the closer one. Duh!"

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
AFTER Data reprogrammed the sensors to scan for a gas compression and focus their attention on that. Under normal circumstances, there'd probably just be a flash of light as the second Stargazer image suddenly appeared and opened fire.
By scanning for the gas compression, the sensors are still reporting back in the FTL movement as it was tracking the movement vector in real-time.
Not at all. Unless the aim was to actually RAM the Enterprise, Stargazer had to decelerate at some point. The time to accelerate from a standing start to warp nine is not instantaneous, nor is the drop from warp nine to a standstill; there'd be about a three-quarter second period where Stargazer was decelerating at insanely high but still subluminal velocity, and THAT, above all else, is what Data's sensors are scanning for.

I would argue that the sensors are at a minimum tracking the new position because it is animating the warp lines (or direction) in real-time prior to the new image solidifying.
That would utterly nullify the entire premise of the maneuver, making it an invalid tactic from the start.

No, it's a lot more likely the viewscreen is projecting the sudden compression wave as Stargazer drops out of warp and focussing the visual sensors there, forming a clear image (thus the distant image and the nearer one are both in perfect focus at the time). If this had been projected on, say, a 21st century viewscreen, it probably would have been displayed with some fancy reticules and target identifiers and whatnot, but 24th century viewers are too evolved for that, I guess.

In the final moments we do not know if the Stargazer was still at warp or at sublight...
The sequence with using the maneuver on the Enterprise pretty much implies they were at sublight; it defies explanation how a maneuver that's supposed to be executed between two ships in a warp pursuit could be employed from a standing start against a stationary target.

It'd be like a supersonic jet trying to perform a thatch weave against with a guy in a jeep.

In re-examining the episode, it reads more like the maneuver uses a sudden high warp move to confuse enemy sensors, both FTL and LS and the computers that monitor them leading to forced errors on the enemy crew.
That's EXACTLY what the maneuver does. The point, however, is that the sensors are confused because the radiation they depend on for tracking of targets can only move at the speed of light, and a ship moving FASTER than light can appear to be many places at once if you time your maneuvers smartly.

In the most literal description of the move, it's an example of an FTL starship using its engines to outrun its own reflection. A sensor device that sends and receives pulses faster than light wouldn't fall for this; the computer would instantly know what happened and report to the crew accordingly. But even the Enterprise-D isn't equipped with such a device, or at the very least, not one which is capable of tracking the movements of a starship in realtime. That suggests that the main sensing capabilities of most starships is inherently STL anyway -- and we kind of knew that already, since they are implicitly and explicitly stated as working in various parts of the EM spectrum.

Whatever FTL sensing devices the ship has, they're probably closer to ultra-long range interferometers or something; the kind of thing you'd use to detect a gravitating body a light minute away with enough lead time to avoid crashing into it.
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Old November 2 2012, 04:01 AM   #105
blssdwlf
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
But he's still pretty short on details. He does not, for example, ever mention when or if Stargazer dropped OUT of warp, despite the fact that it clearly did.
The episode dialog only states clearly that the Stargazer dropped out high warp at the end of the Picard Maneuver. Prior to that, we have no idea what speed she was going at.

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
As an alternative to using the compression wave as an aiming point to "blow our captain to bits." And even that's only possible because the Galaxy class is a lot more powerful than Stargazer.
And apparently also to concentrate shields from that aiming point to protect from the attack.

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
If that's the case, then scanning for compressed gasses would be totally unnecessary; Riker asks Data for a way to counter the Picard Maneuver and Data would immediately say "Aim for the closer one. Duh!"
Since "blowing the Captain to bits" was clearly not something Riker wanted to do they still had "no counter". Having the ability to target both ships doesn't give Riker the solution he is looking for.

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Not at all. Unless the aim was to actually RAM the Enterprise, Stargazer had to decelerate at some point. The time to accelerate from a standing start to warp nine is not instantaneous, nor is the drop from warp nine to a standstill; there'd be about a three-quarter second period where Stargazer was decelerating at insanely high but still subluminal velocity, and THAT, above all else, is what Data's sensors are scanning for.
Then the main viewer should've shown NO warp vector lines and just a second Stargazer appearing out of the blue if that was the case. If you watch the episode the main viewer animates out the entire sequence and there is a continuous warp-line connection between the old and new Stargazers. That indicates that the sensors were FTL in detecting the compression path from start to finish. And interestingly, even though they are doing all this in real-time with the warp lines animating, the computer doesn't erase the old image.

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
That would utterly nullify the entire premise of the maneuver, making it an invalid tactic from the start.
There are no invalid tactics, just dumb crews.

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
In the final moments we do not know if the Stargazer was still at warp or at sublight...
The sequence with using the maneuver on the Enterprise pretty much implies they were at sublight; it defies explanation how a maneuver that's supposed to be executed between two ships in a warp pursuit could be employed from a standing start against a stationary target.
Not really. The Stargazer could still have been going at Warp 2 and as the Ferengi exited Warp to make a tight 180 (like the E-D does in "Encounter At Farpoint") the Stargazer could've intercepted them after the High Warp hop.

Remember, the characteristics of the Picard Maneuver are:
1. High Warp (Warp 9)
2. The Enemy Ship Choosing the Wrong Target to fire at (Enemy Confusion)
3. Possible a sensor timing issue

If it was something simple like a ship going FTL to outrun it's own LS reflection, then Warp 1 or 2 would suffice. The dialog and VFX do not bear this out in the episode, so we are left with the concept that a sudden HIGH Warp speed hop is able to confuse FTL sensors of the target ship.
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