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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old June 13 2013, 08:05 PM   #1
Crazy Eddie
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Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

Couple of things I noticed on seeing STID again last night. Two main reactions for local expert analysis:

- The Trick Shots -
It was hard to see at first, but I spotted it the third time around and I had to hunt down some screencanps just to be sure.




It seems the phaser blasts from the USS Vengeance do not actually travel in a straight line. Quite the contrary, they seem to curve through space in these wide twisty arcs before finding their way to the Enterprise' hull.

I'm tempted to think this might be a novel application of deflector shields, e.g. the shields literally deflect enemy weapons fire away from the ship, causing it to veer partially off target, and the shields being at low power explains why those blasts still managed to hit the ship. This is my preferred explanation because it has the fewest variables involved and, let's face it, would just be kind of a cool way to re-imagine deflectors.

The other possibility comes from the fact that the red blasts used by both Enterprise and the Vengeance in the last two movies were never verbally identified as phasers. Indeed, the one time they were actually referred to at all in STXI is when Kirk shouts "Arm photons, fire everything we've got!" It could be, therefore, that the red bolts we've been associating with phasers are, in fact, very small photonic weapons fired like cannon shells that may even have their own guidance systems. That theory would explain both their relatively slow speed (the putative "phaser" bolts are only twice as fast as the blue photon torpedoes) and would be consistent with the photon launchers on the Kelvin 30 years earlier.

- Battle pods -

Small object shaped like a giant doughnut hole is seen floating through space, firing torpedoes at the Enterprise. Battle drone does not seem to be armed with phasers, although it may or may not be equipped with two different types of torpedoes. These pods are never seen firing phasers, despite the fact that they are in locations about where phasers seem to be coming from in the warp speed attack. This, again, lends some credence to the theory that the red-colored bolts are actually some kind of small torpedo and not phasers after all.


- Trails -
Using same screencap above. We have today the first known instance of a Starfleet torpedo leaving a visible exhaust trail as it flies through space. We can't know the relationship between these weapons and the standard photon torpedo -- if there is such a thing as "standard" -- but if I had to guess, I'd say the "smoky" torpedoes are probably from Vengeance' native compliment of the modified long-range Khanpedoes.

Combined with the revelation of additional launch ports on the side of the Enterprise's hull and the enlarged size of the torpedoes themselves, I'm thinking that we might need to fundamentally reevaluate how we think about Starfleet weaponry. We've gotten comfortable with the idea that Starfleet carries exactly two types of weapons and one or two versions of each on board their ships, but in a modern navy this is far from the case; guided missile cruisers like the Kirov have not less than three different types of anti-ship missiles and two different types of SAMs. Aegis cruisers have multi-purpose missiles for engaging sea/air targets, cruise missiles, harpoon antishipping missiles and smaller more specialized point defense missiles like ESSM, in addition to slower moving water-bound torpedoes.

Abramsverse starships may have simply moved away from phasers as a primary armament, relying instead on far more powerful volleys of short-ranged torpedoes. The rationale would seem to be that while phasers have theoretically unlimited ammo, a mini-torpedo can do ten times the damage with a single shot and is less likely to miss its target. The precedent for this would be in ST09 when we saw crews loading cylinders into what appeared to be launch tubes in the torpedo room; apart from the fact that these cylinders seem much too small to be "normal" torpedo casings, they're installed in housings that are facing in opposite directions, side by side.


That, to me, suggests that the ball turrets we've been seeing on the saucer section of the Enterprise are, in fact, small photon launchers, highly directional and very fast-firing counterparts of the spatial torpedo tubes we saw on NX-01.

With six shots per turret and twelve turrets on the Enterprise, this would mean the ship is capable of launching a total of 72 small general-purpose torpedoes in a single barrage. The main torpedo launcher probably a very heavy, medium-range anti-ship weapon fed from a rotary magazine in the neck of the ship. The tubes we saw in broadside would ordinarily be used for drones, probes, mines, or assorted long-range weapons of a type we would normally call "cruise missiles."

Thoughts?
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Old June 13 2013, 08:39 PM   #2
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

I noticed the assumed disruptors on the D-4 Bird of Prey acting similarly. Freezeframing and slow-moing the HD Youtube clip, I saw the "disruptor bolts" actually closer resembled the swirling drone weapons from Stargate Atlantis.

It made me wonder whether we've really been seeing what we think we've been seeing for the past 45 years of Trek. Could the "main batteries" of the D-7 cruiser in "Elaan of Troyius" have actually been firing similar? Or perhaps the Scimitar in Nemesis? It's fun to think about.
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Old June 13 2013, 09:00 PM   #3
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

Interestingly, the CG model of the Bird of Prey has weapon ports that resemble -- it seems to me, intentionally -- the SeaRAM launchers on guided missile cruisers. I had forgotten about that myself, but I saw the way the model is represented in both the IDW comic and the Hot Wheels toys and some of the screencaps. The film version doesn't have the radar dome on top, but the same squared off design the right size and shape to be a kind of multi-tube rocket launcher. If the similar design isn't a hint of that particular design intent, I would be VERY surprised.
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Old June 14 2013, 02:02 PM   #4
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

Did the Enterprise's phasers in STID curve also? Or was it only the Vengeance phasers did the curving?
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Old June 14 2013, 02:30 PM   #5
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

Both ships were at warp speed when the Vengeance fired at the Enterprise, could explain the strange trajectory of the 'phaser' pulses.
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Old June 15 2013, 07:35 PM   #6
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

Right although there is a scene where those pulses do the arcing when they are floating above Earth. It could be only Vengeance had those special weapons and Enterprise's phasers still fired straight?
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Old June 15 2013, 11:31 PM   #7
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Did the Enterprise's phasers in STID curve also? Or was it only the Vengeance phasers did the curving?
Enterprise' weapons didn't fire AT ALL in this movie, so it's a non-issue.

OTOH, re-watching ST09 I see that Narada's torpedoes fly in relatively straight trajectories throughout the film and only seem to change directions the instant they are launched. If FX conventions are considered consistent within a particular movie, you could at least see that the straight-line behavior of Enterprise's "phasers" in the first movie is equally consistent with missiles.

Interestingly, the script for ST09 also identifies the Jellyfish's weapons as "torpedoes."

anh165 wrote: View Post
Both ships were at warp speed when the Vengeance fired at the Enterprise, could explain the strange trajectory of the 'phaser' pulses.
I thought so too, at first, but the same effect is in evidence -- and somewhat more pronounced -- when the attack resumes under Khan's command.
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Old June 16 2013, 01:30 PM   #8
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Interestingly, the script for ST09 also identifies the Jellyfish's weapons as "torpedoes."
That was an early script which also featured Spock opening a second black hole and deliberately going back in time to try and save Romulus. Memory Alpha has taken details from it oddly to heart when IMO if the main story is so different from what we saw in the finished film, then all the little details are equally as questionable.
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Old June 17 2013, 07:26 PM   #9
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Interestingly, the script for ST09 also identifies the Jellyfish's weapons as "torpedoes."
That was an early script which also featured Spock opening a second black hole and deliberately going back in time to try and save Romulus. Memory Alpha has taken details from it oddly to heart when IMO if the main story is so different from what we saw in the finished film, then all the little details are equally as questionable.
Quite a few things did change, but the original script gives you some clues to what was INTENDED to be, and answers some questions that might have stood otherwise.

In particular, the "time travel on purpose" concept explains two questions a lot of people have asked. In particular, why did the Jellyfish have so much red matter on board when Spock only needed a small amount of it to destroy the star? (Answer: it was a suicide mission: Jellyfish was supposed to physically fly into the supernova and detonate itself). Why does Kirk mention to Spock "Coming back in time... that's cheating, Spock" when he already knew Spock's time travel was an accident.

It rather appears that the differences between the script and the filmed version are mostly last-minute and/or post production changes either for brevity and simplicity. They essentially omitted alot and added very little, but not much was actually CHANGED.
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Old June 17 2013, 09:33 PM   #10
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

It was my assumption that Spock carried all that Red Matter because that it's only stable enough to transport in larger quantities. I don't see how his being a suicide mission would factor into the amount carried?

You are correct that Kirk's line about Spock cheating makes more sense if his time travel were intentional as per the earlier script. But I think the missiles mentioned were swapped for phasers in the final draft, just like the Jellyfish having no gravity or Spock's meltdown and torture/beat down on the Romulan ship were.
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Old June 17 2013, 10:38 PM   #11
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

My assumption on the amount of Red Matter (TM) is because a supernova is HUGE in comparison to a tiny little planet. The relative scale between a supernova and a planet compared to the ball of Red Matter and a little drop of it was quite appropriate.
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Old June 18 2013, 12:20 AM   #12
publiusr
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

Reminds me of the Excelsiors tracing phasers from DC comics.

This one actually drops
http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=15308
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Old June 18 2013, 04:26 AM   #13
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

B.J. wrote: View Post
My assumption on the amount of Red Matter (TM) is because a supernova is HUGE in comparison to a tiny little planet. The relative scale between a supernova and a planet compared to the ball of Red Matter and a little drop of it was quite appropriate.
Except we do see Spock using the red matter on the supernova, and it is the same little blob in size that Nero uses on planets.
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Old June 18 2013, 04:53 AM   #14
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
It was my assumption that Spock carried all that Red Matter because that it's only stable enough to transport in larger quantities. I don't see how his being a suicide mission would factor into the amount carried?
Because he was originally supposed to use ALL of it. Jellyfish, in that case, was basically a giant manned torpedo with the red matter as its warhead.

You are correct that Kirk's line about Spock cheating makes more sense if his time travel were intentional as per the earlier script. But I think the missiles mentioned were swapped for phasers in the final draft
I don't think any "final draft" was ever actually written. This is also more or less the case with TMP, where huge parts of the ending had to be completely re-shot and even the script for the original ending was never entirely finished. Parts of the changes in ST09 were done in post production (watch Pike's lips when he says "And you know of this Romulan attack how?" the word you're looking for is "escape") and parts were doubtless done off-script with lines being pitched from the director's seat.

Spock's meltdown and torture/beat down on the Romulan ship were...
Planned, and possibly even filmed, but ultimately omitted for brevity.
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Old June 18 2013, 06:06 AM   #15
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Re: Vengeance Weapons (Spoilers, maybe)

I thought the Narada had brought Borg weapons into the past and thus in Trek '09 the Klingons were able to reverse-engineer those weapons and that's what they were using in Into Darkness.
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