Captured technology

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Unicron, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    There have been various references over time about technology that's been captured from a rival power. FASA mentioned a number of enemy vessels that had been captured by each of the major powers, along with the Orions (whose fleet was comprised mainly of Klingon designs, some of which were acquired illicitly). I would guess that two of the more valuable technologies would be cloaks and Borg equipment, assuming the later could be integrated into a useful system as Voyager managed.

    What do you think about technology that's been captured and reverse engineered?
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I guess cloaks would be an important issue here. Everybody and their idiot cousin already has the basic invisibility down pat in the 22nd century; the thing is, this doesn't appear to help much. It's a constant rat race between making the ships even more invisible and inventing the sensors and techniques to thwart this. Capturing enemy gear would be a big help in both respects.

    We don't see a similar race elsewhere. Shields and weapons may compete, but it's not a case of finding the perfect match for what the enemy has (because a dozen enemies will have a dozen different things, and you will have to be prepared for all of them anyway). Cloaks beyond basic visual invisibility are more exclusive.

    I wonder... Canonically, there exists a ship type called "courier". Those would by definition be worth capturing, if they are worth employing. So, do the various cultures build super-couriers that can best resist capture, or do they take care to utilize the crappiest contraptions available, so that the inevitable capture doesn't provide the enemy with the bonus of high technology, too?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  3. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    I'm not too familiar with military terminology, so I'm not entirely sure I understand this; I would have assumed that "courier" just refers to a ship type meant to transport small packages like people or messages or small amounts of materiel at high speeds. Is that not the case? If it is, then I'm not really sure what you mean for why those in particular would be worth capturing over other types of ships?
     
  4. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    In regards to couriers, I suppose that would depend on whether their mission was mainly communications (which would make them potentially valuable) or other things like cargo; in an era of FTL communications arrays, one might argue they're not so valuable for that purpose. It could perhaps vary depending on wartime conditions, as that might be a more reliable communications tool than it would be in peace time.

    One issue is whether certain technologies would be considered inherently valuable to a capturing party; I've seen a number of sources mention that only the Romulans seem to have any interest in plasma-based weaponry, because the potentially higher damage ratio is offset by an increasingly unstable charge. FASA had the Klingons outfit a handful of ships with both cloaks and plasma weapons as part of the technology exchange, but they didn't seem overly thrilled with either system. For my own part, I see no reason why the Feds couldn't theoretically build their own cloaks although there's a fair argument that they'd be an uncommon system aboard most Starfleet vessels.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Messages today and in Trek generally travel as transmissions of one sort or another. The use of physical couriers (necessarily slow and clumsy for their physicality) basically only happens if transmissions cannot be trusted to keep the message content secure. And that means that the most important messages are the ones traveling by courier...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Ah right, duh, of course. So that is all that courier means in a military context, by the way? I've always assumed so, but I was never actually certain that it wasn't a jargon term for something else.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    For obvious reasons, a ship or boat type by the name or mission "courier" does not exist today. Battlefields still have "runners", although those tend to move by cross-country motorcycle. And of course special aircraft are used for moving sensitive data or, say, key prisoners, but what's "special" about them is the fact that they try very hard to not appear special... Also, one wonders whether precision-controlled robots, such as multicopters, might replace battlefield runners in the near future.

    Trek takes a nostalgic step back to the days when oceans were vast and untamed, though. A "support courier" is what the Maquis use in their introductory DS9 episode to attack Cardassian ships - alas, we never see the vessel. A "medical courier" is to rendezvous with the E-D in TNG "Unnatural Selection", although whether this is a vessel or a person remains undetermined (at least the rendezvous doesn't take place in the middle of empty space, but at Star Station India). And then there's the "modified Peregrine class courier ship" from DS9 "Heart of Stone", about as definitive as we can get about the issue of courier ships existing in the Trek universe of the era - although this vessel, too, remains unseen, we at least learn she is "lightly armed" with "one man crew".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  8. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    It seems like a "courier" could be used to transport a VIP that insn't quite "I" enough for a cruiser.

    Bigger than a shuttle but smaller than a scout.
     
  9. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Just shove them into a hollow Photorp tube and send them on their way...
     
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  10. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    In terms of enemy vessels that might be potentially useful and relatively low risk, it crossed my mind today that tenders might fall into that category, since they're intended for supply and support operations and generally aren't combatants. If Starfleet started deploying a new type of advanced sensor buoy, capturing a tender might be one means of acquiring samples. For my part, I tend to assume that replicators have advantages but aren't necessarily ubiquitous everywhere, or even preferred over "real" versions of certain goods. So there's still a useful role for designs like freighters and transport/tugs.

    Jackill's Gregory class explorers might be another example, because of their enhanced sensor arrays.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's a bit of a miracle Starfleet doesn't jealously guard every single one of those fantastic science or engineering experiments like soliton wave generation or particle beam mining or Krieger wave studies by deploying a starship and an oversight team. Or that there aren't Klingon agents swarming over those experiments. Heck, Genesis had its own starship, but nobody seemed to find it worrisome that she didn't answer hails much.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  12. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I think it'd be interesting to see what happens with the acquired slipstream engine that the Voyager brought back from the Delta Quadrant. I know that the novels and STO didn't waste any time having the Federation incorporate slipstream into Starfleet vessels, but I think it's also possible that slipstream could end up as something that was deemed unworkable longtime (like the Voyager did) or was considered too dangerous to have around if it ended up in the wrong hands (i.e., anyone not the Federation) and was locked away & buried in a warehouse like the Ark of the Covenant.
     
  13. STR

    STR Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Depends on what's being couried and where. What a courier really is, functionally, is a transport with a small payload. That's all.

    If something is sensitive and needs transit through unsecured space, but isn't important enough for a fully sized starship (or otherwise armed escort), then one's best bet is speed. It's very hard to intercept something going markedly faster than you are, even if you outgun it.

    Arguably, this kind of vehicle is what Spock uses to get aboard the Enterprise in TMP. It's a shuttle sized craft with oversized warp engines.
     
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  14. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've often played with the idea that the restriction on cloaking devices is actually a restriction on CIVILIAN ships using them as an arms control method. The Romulans might have pulled a smartass technicality at the Treaty of Algernon by declaring that since Starfleet isn't TECHNICALLY a military organization they shouldn't TECHNICALLY be allowed to have them; in exchange for this, the Federation got a gaurantee that the Romulans would outlaw cloaking technology of ANY kind for civilian ships, thus preventing them from, say, outfitting "merchant" ships with cloaking devices and using them for espionage or sabotage missions in Federation space. All things considered, that would be a pretty good tradeoff: the Romulans agree to stop being sneaky and Starfleet agrees never to start.

    Only if "courier" is a military definition rather than a civilian one. "Courier" could be the equivalent of "taxi" or "lorrie" in Federation parlance, in which case Sisko's often cited "modified an old support courier" basically describes a truck with a rocket launcher bolted to the hitch.

    Trucks aren't really worth capturing, though, unless they're hauling something important. So couriers probably have to worry about getting robbed or hijacked, but not CAPTURED as such.
     
  15. matthunter

    matthunter Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Starfleet had the captured Jem'Hadar bug ship for some time - it would've been good to see if they could have reverse-engineered the much longer range Dominion transporters. Of course, since the Dominion users are either clone species or Founders, they could be using one of the "longer range but nasty to the user" devices we've previously seen on TNG.
     
  16. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The bug ship was a little damaged when they got it. They did managed to reverse engineer the enemy weapon to the point were Starfleet's shields could handle them normally rather then be cut through most of the time like the Odyssey and Defiant early on.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We don't know exactly when Starfleet shields first become useful against Jem'Hadar weapons. Might be a careful analysis of the death of the Odyssey allowed Starfleet to retune the shields to be perfectly effective in two days flat - there isn't an engagement where the shields of the Defiant or the runabouts wouldn't handle Dominion fire just fine, after all (as compared to, say, Klingon fire). But if the shields were fixed immediately, then Starfleet must have taken great care to eliminate all witnesses to them working, because Weyoun still shows surprise at them working in "Call to Arms"...

    I could very well see Starfleet faking weak shields in specially orchestrated engagements, even letting an (automated) starship or three be blown up so that the strategic surprise wouldn't be lost. But I can't see them winning all their pre-war engagements hands down, and one defeat would mean strategic defeat. Perhaps there was gradual progress, and Starfleet managed to create the impression that it went more slowly than it actually did?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The tech I'd most like to have.
    Kelvin weapons--bracelets from Spock's Brain, Tantalus device--Scaloisian water/tech--Iconian gates