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Old October 30 2012, 04:41 PM   #1
The Overlord
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The Auto Destruct Sequence

Why did the auto destruct sequence change over the years? In TOS it took 3 senior officers to activate the auto destruct sequence. In TNG, it took the Captain and First Officer to activate the auto destruct sequence and the Computer would scan the both their palms to confirm they are who they say are. In DS9 it took two senior officers to activate the auto destruct sequence and the palm scan was still present.

Then in Voyager, only the Captain needs to activate the auto destruct sequence and the palm scans are no longer present. Doesn't that seem really dangerous, if the captain loses his or her mind he/she could activate the self destruct sequence and no one else could stop it. Why would Star Fleet change the auto destruct sequence like that? That just makes things more dangerous and makes Star Fleet look reckless.
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Old October 30 2012, 05:01 PM   #2
MacLeod
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

Well the two.three most senior officers prescent seems like the best option.
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Old October 30 2012, 05:19 PM   #3
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

Maybe Janeway changed it herself, just in case those pesky Maquis rebelled

In FC, it switched back to being three senior officers, though how Worf was able to activate it I don't know (seeing as how he wasn't part of the crew at the time).
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Old October 30 2012, 06:22 PM   #4
KamenRiderBlade
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

I would think either

Captain + 1st Officer + Computer Full body scan for verification + Voice Passphrase + Physical Passcode

or

Captain + 2x Senior Officers (who isn't the 1st Officer) + Computer Full body scan for verification + Voice Passphrase + Physical Passcode

would be enough security.
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Old October 30 2012, 06:39 PM   #5
Shikarnov
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
Maybe Janeway changed it herself, just in case those pesky Maquis rebelled

In FC, it switched back to being three senior officers, though how Worf was able to activate it I don't know (seeing as how he wasn't part of the crew at the time).
Perhaps the codes were fixed like on the old Enterprise.

In "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," Captain Kirk entered the first sequence, Spock the second, and Scott, the third.

But in Star Trek III, visiting Admiral Kirk entered the first sequence - which was unchanged from when the Enterprise was his ship. Chekov, first officer of the Reliant, entered the also-unchanged second sequence. And Scotty, the only official Enterprise crew member, entered the third.

Granted, when we saw the Enterprise-E in First Contact, it was without Worf, but the old E-D command codes might have been transferred over given that Picard's senior staff at the time was mostly unchanged.
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Old October 31 2012, 02:58 PM   #6
Timo
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

Probably the computer identifies each speaker by independent means (voiceprint, some sort of a scan or another) and checks against a database to make sure this speaker is in Starfleet and not blacklisted somehow. It doesn't care whether the person is part of the starship's regular crew or not - this really should not affect the person's ability to blow up the starship. It's not a matter of rare privileges being transferred, it's a matter of every Starfleet employee being entitled and qualified.

Also, any trio or duo of personnel, say, an Ensign and two Greaser's Mates from Deck 29, probably ought to be able to blow up the ship. People of higher rank could always countermand their destruct orders if need be.

As for why the silly codewords are needed in addition to all that... In theory, the enemy might impersonate Starfleet personnel just by observing said personnel for a while, recording their voice, taking holoimages, whatnot. It would be slightly more difficult for them to dig out the codewords from the minds of these personnel. Not impossible, but more difficult.

But the codewords need not be supersecure or anything. Kirk probably just doesn't bother to change his when moving from ship to ship, while Picard is a slightly more diligent officer.

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Old October 31 2012, 03:11 PM   #7
LeadHead
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

Since Picard used the same code to receive a secure message from Admiral Hayes at the start of the film, I assume that the codes Worf used in FC to help set auto-destruct weren't Enterprise specific, rather his own personal authorization codes. As a Lieutenant Commander of the Command division, (and one who was regularly assigned independent command of the Defiant) his codes were likely sufficient to set the sequence.
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Old October 31 2012, 04:16 PM   #8
MacLeod
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

Well in TOS they appeared to use the same destruct codes for approx two decades. Though it might have changed inbetween "Let that Be Your Last Battlfield " and TSFS.

But I think going with the two/three most senior officers present is the best way. So in theory two Engsigns could order a self destruct if all other senior officers were incapacitated.
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Old October 31 2012, 05:02 PM   #9
CoveTom
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

The Overlord wrote: View Post
Then in Voyager, only the Captain needs to activate the auto destruct sequence and the palm scans are no longer present. Doesn't that seem really dangerous, if the captain loses his or her mind he/she could activate the self destruct sequence and no one else could stop it. Why would Star Fleet change the auto destruct sequence like that? That just makes things more dangerous and makes Star Fleet look reckless.
To be fair, we don't know that only Captain Janeway could activate or deactivate the sequence. She's the only one we ever see do it. But perhaps the first officer, the chief engineer, and who knows how many others possess the same authority and could cancel the sequence if she went out of her mind and started it without reason.

Now, in TOS, Kirk says that he's the only one that can stop the sequence and, indeed, we do see that he alone stops it without Scotty or Spock having to concur. But that doesn't prove that he's truly the only one who could have stopped it. Maybe it's just that it only takes one authorization to stop the sequence where it takes three to start it, and Scotty or Spock could have stopped it just as easily.

Still, for something as serious as self-destruct, more than one person's authorization does seem more prudent.

As an aside, the idea of the self-destruct sequence being "offline" has always puzzled me. How can a ship be so badly damaged as to prevent you from damaging the ship? A phaser to the warp core could easily destroy the ship. Surely the computer can find a way to cause an overload, even if it's normal methods are interrupted.

And, lastly, Starfleet voice authorization codes have always been shown to be ridiculously simple. "Picard 4-7-Alpha-Tango" is hardly a difficult code to get just by a simple brute force attack. Surely, then, the code is just one piece of a larger puzzle that would also include the voice print, a scan of the individual making the request, and so forth. The voice code would just be one further safety against someone duplicating a voice or trying to use an unconscious person to get around the scan.
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Old October 31 2012, 09:42 PM   #10
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

Perhaps the auto-destruct systems on various ships are intentionally made to be different (or at least can be configured as such) to prevent the possibility of misuse?

Meaning: if enemies can figure out how to activate a ship's auto-destruct because all ships have the same procedures, there'd be hell to pay. So maybe there's a LOT of different systems in use, to prevent said enemies from figuring out how.
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Old November 1 2012, 07:58 AM   #11
Timo
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

But I think going with the two/three most senior officers present is the best way. So in theory two Engsigns could order a self destruct if all other senior officers were incapacitated.
The thing is, the computer probably would have difficult time figuring out whether the two or three people asking for self-destruct really were the most senior ones available. Perhaps there are higher-ranking people just behind the bulkhead, yelling for the computer to stop the maniacs, but the audio pickup in that space is damaged?

On the other hand, why should the system insist on highest possible rank? It can outsource such decisions to the chain of command: if somebody does ask for auto-destruct, then it's the job of his higher-ups to either consent or contradict. What is the shortest possible countdown time we have heard of? It's not zero AFAIK, despite "11001001" dialogue. There'd be time for the chain of command to do its own verifying.

When the person setting auto-destruct is the skipper him- or herself, then there is no higher-up to reverse the decision, and the skipper is the only one with the authority to abort. But in other situations, single steps in the chain of command might suffice: if Ensign Kim asked for scuttling, Lieutenant Torres could cancel.

That's just nuances, though. In general, if scuttling is requested of the computer, it probably is a complex situation where it's not the computer's position to ask why, who or whether. Over-complex safety precautions would add nothing and might be a fatal hindrance at a critical moment.

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Old November 1 2012, 03:32 PM   #12
CoveTom
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

Timo wrote: View Post
When the person setting auto-destruct is the skipper him- or herself, then there is no higher-up to reverse the decision, and the skipper is the only one with the authority to abort.
Are you saying the commanding officer would have absolute authority to order auto-destruct and no one on board could override that? That seems dangerous, and not in line with Starfleet's rather frequently referenced policies that allow doctors, counselors, etc. to go so far as to remove a captain from command if they feel he is acting irrationally.
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Old November 1 2012, 07:41 PM   #13
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

Well, it's both a canon fact and a fairly rational idea. The CO of the ship has ultimate command, and can definitely order the entire crew to die, without any sort of possibility of override ("Where Silence Has Lease"). And four out of five attempts to remove a strangely behaving skipper from command failed miserably, including all of the TOS and TNG ones. The skipper clearly is next to God - counting from below!

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Old November 1 2012, 08:08 PM   #14
bluepicard27
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

maybe starfleet mix it up all the time so it isnt the same with all the federation armada
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Old November 1 2012, 08:18 PM   #15
CoveTom
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Re: The Auto Destruct Sequence

Timo wrote: View Post
Well, it's both a canon fact and a fairly rational idea. The CO of the ship has ultimate command, and can definitely order the entire crew to die, without any sort of possibility of override ("Where Silence Has Lease"). And four out of five attempts to remove a strangely behaving skipper from command failed miserably, including all of the TOS and TNG ones. The skipper clearly is next to God - counting from below!

Timo Saloniemi
No one is questioning that a captain, under normal circumstances, has the authority to order his crew to die. In "Where Silence Has Lease," no one questioned Picard's authority to order the self-destruct. Some may have disagreed with his decision, but they were all prepared to obey orders. But there also was no question as to Picard's competence or mental stability.

What I'm talking about is the ability for a first officer, a chief engineer, a medical officer, somebody to be able to countermand a destruct order given by a mentally incapacitated captain who should no longer reasonably hold command. And with something as serious as destroying the ship and all life aboard, I would think such a safety would need to be in place.
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