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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old December 16 2012, 08:17 PM   #1
royalfan5
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Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

The way the Enterprise blows up has always kind of bothered me. You have the Bridge detonate, then the partial collapse and detonation of the saucer section, then a slow fiery descent into the atmosphere. (Providing a great shot for the movie, which I understand is the actual reason for the sequence, as well a good analogy to how a seafaring ship would sink if scuttled)

However, if that is the way the auto-destruct was supposed to function, wouldn't that potentially leave a partial hulk for for enemies to scavenge if there wasn't a planet nearby to fall into?

It make sense to believe that the sequence at least partially failed due to the existing battle damage doesn't it?
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Old December 16 2012, 08:48 PM   #2
Ar-Pharazon
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

They probably did it for the dramatic effect of the secondary hull burning up in the atmosphere, with the crew watching.

Technically speaking, the entire ship should have been obliterated, for the reason you mentioned.
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Old December 16 2012, 09:01 PM   #3
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

There is some merit to the famous backstage rationalization (printed e.g. in Shane Johnson's Mr Scott's Guide to the Enterprise) that scuttling near planets is normally done gently (by verbally selecting "Destruct Zero", the otherwise nonsensical phrase we hear Kirk use), because blowing up the entire ship and its antimatter powerplant ("Destruct One") would result in too much damage to the planet. Remember how just a tiny part of the ship's antimatter stores ripped half the atmosphere off a planet in "Obsession"?

Especially ST3:TSfS would call for the velvet gloves because Kirk hoped to make use of the planet afterwards! Of course, this supposes that "Destruct Zero" involves not just a limited use of explosives but also a controlled ejection of all the antimatter before the ship otherwise disintegrates, either from the scuttling charges or from atmospheric impact. But this is a good supposition to make; those warp core ejectors and whatnot don't seem to work too well in saving ships from destruction, so perhaps they are actually optimized for destruction scenarios?

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Old December 16 2012, 09:05 PM   #4
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

Genesis was dying anyway, hardly matters.
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Old December 16 2012, 09:14 PM   #5
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

When it comes to the Self-Destruct mechanic, I've always thought there were many various ways a ship could destroy itself. One through matter anti-matter, one through explosive charges, one through unmanned collision courses, ect.

I think with TSFS, it was the charge because as everyone has said, a matter anti-matter reaction would have destroyed a good chunk of the planet, let alone the Bird of Prey that was sitting right next to the Enterprise.

Although, the more I think about an event where the Enterprise blows up completely without a huge chunk of the secondary hull would have been an interesting idea. Picture if you will that Instead of a meteor like object going through the atmosphere, it was more like a meteor shower. Bits and pieces of the Enterprise continuously entering the atmosphere for the rest of the planet's duration. Would have been a nice backdrop showing the burning debris in the background with Kirk fighting Kruge. The sight of Genesis exploding and the flaming debris of the Enterprise coming out of the sky? Talk about getting a sense of destruction.
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Old December 16 2012, 09:15 PM   #6
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

No.

Grissom's engine core overloading did nothing to the Genesis planet earlier in the movie.

In Generations the Enterprise D's much bigger, much more powerful warp core going up did nothing to Veridian 3.

So obviously that's not it.
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Old December 16 2012, 09:23 PM   #7
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

Chemahkuu wrote: View Post
So obviously that's not it.
Unfortunately like a lot of things, how much power a self-destruct has is a bit of a mixed bag. One time Scotty said it would destroy V'Ger's GIGANTIC SPACESHIP, other times it knocks the saucer section's helm controls.
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Old December 16 2012, 09:30 PM   #8
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

Most of the time an entire ship blowing up, which would take all the antimatter with it anyway, only affects maybe a few kilometers. We've never seen a core explosion that should be true to life except for Trek XI, which may have been partly the red matter hole's influence too.
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Old December 16 2012, 09:32 PM   #9
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

And of course it may be that a destruct by external forces can be a "Destruct Zero" on occasion, a "Destruct One" on another. The default setting on any Federation starship would probably be "in case of destruction, eject all antimatter for minimizing the effects". Which would explain how the very concept of starship wreckage can exist in the Star Trek universe; without "Destruct Zero" type precautions, the vicinity of Wolf 359 should have been a gaseous anomaly rather than a scrap yard.

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Old December 16 2012, 09:37 PM   #10
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

We don't see antimatter pods escaping and most of the time there would literally be no time.

Ships blow up a lot with antimatter still onboard and it never creates all that big a bang.

First Contact had ships still very much in action being vapourised with no huge antimatter explosions, caught too suddenly to do anything about it.
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Old December 16 2012, 09:57 PM   #11
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

Yeah, different modes of self-destruct.

As in TMP, the antimatter can be released for an uncontrollable explosive result. Not a designed self-destruct, but rather a result of removing all safeties regarding the ship's antimatter.

There's the "Destruct Zero" scenario, seen in TSFS, which is evidently a controlled self-destruct. Perhaps intended to scuttle a ship or to prevent capture. A method designed to affect the ship itself and not inflict damage elsewhere. As mentioned, Kirk would be needing the nearby Bird of Prey intact.

There's the "Destruct One" option, designed to cause maximum damage to the ship and everything else in the area. Perhaps a combination of on-board charges and explosive overloads and antimatter containment shutdowns, all sequenced for maximum damage and destruction.
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Old December 16 2012, 10:23 PM   #12
Timo
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

We don't see antimatter pods escaping and most of the time there would literally be no time.
No time to see them going, perhaps, but the computers would have time to yawn between "terminal damage from Klingon disruptors detected" and "antimatter safely dumped". The modern military has several comparable systems in action, including certain types of reactive armor or ejection seats; split-second reaction times aren't particularly hard to pull off.

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Old December 16 2012, 10:34 PM   #13
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

I dunno, a charge of some sort seems a great contingency option if power to over load the warp core or anti-matter systems or whatever is off line. How many times in TNG/VOY was the self-destruct somehow damaged or otherwise disabled?
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Old December 16 2012, 11:00 PM   #14
Timo
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

Apparently, only a very small fraction of the cases, if every instance of a wreck being left behind marks a successful ejection.

Clearly, ejecting while the ship still remains undestroyed is a dangerous operation: if any of this potent Star Trek antimatter is spilled in the process, the crew will die anyway. So the ejection system probably never will save lives aboard the doomed ship. But it will save lives aboard ships next to that one!

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Old December 17 2012, 12:53 AM   #15
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Re: Did the Auto-destruct partially malfunction in TSFS?

We don't know that the Enterprise woudn't have been rendered completely useless to the enemy absent its fall toward Genesis. Genesis just happened to be there, and when the explosion pushed it toward the planet, it broke up in the atmosphere. That doesn't mean that the self destruct mechanism used wasn't enough to render the ship completely destroyed -- it just means that crashing into the Genesis atmosphere likely destroyed the ship before all the charges left to go off had a chance to do it themselves.
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