Luring people into suns -- why does it work so much?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by JirinPanthosa, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It seems like every time in Star Trek when a protagonist ship is outgunned, they can always rely on flying really close to a sun and creating some kind of crazy science to blow them up. Or there are variations like flying into planet's atmospheres and your ship can survive and theirs can't.

    We've seen this strategy be effective in Arsenal of Freedom, Redemption, Descent, and at least a few times in DS9. Also Scientific Method in Voyager kind of counts. Why hasn't anyone caught on to this? These enemies never seem to think twice about following an inferior ship into a dangerous situation.

    I guess Star Trek does lean heavily on enemy stupidity as plot device.
     
  2. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    It's like a starship version of dogfighting with aircraft. You know what your vehicle can do, and have some idea of what the enemy vehicle can do. So you try and go where your enemy can't; they follow because they want to kill you and might think that their ship will last longer than yours.
     
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Laforge's method of destroying the alien "gun ship" was dependant on a bit of stupidity.

    The Gun ship could have easily paced the Enterprise at a higher altitude, remaining in vacuum, while the Enterprise plowed through the atmostphere. This would have also presented the gun ship with the best firing aspect on the Enterprise, from directly above.

    (Be kind of hard to miss)

    :)
     
  4. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    That automated gun-ship was in "demonstration mode", though. It might have been a selling point that it could operate in atmospheres, so it was showing off.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Because suns are big and shiny? Oooh, shiny...


    Except that one thing the atmospheres of inhabited planets do very well -- without which none of us would be here -- is absorbing or scattering radiation. Although the writers of TV and movies tend to overlook it, air is made of stuff. If there's a large enough quantity of that stuff between you and whatever's shooting energy at you, then that stuff is going to absorb most of the energy. Sure, Trek's given us plenty of episodes where a ship fires phasers from orbit and destroys something on the ground, because TV writers don't understand science. But even if you assume that phasers are tuned to some frequency window that lets them avoid absorption by the atmosphere, that doesn't mean that every kind of weapon could do the same.

    So if the probe didn't have the right kind of weapons, then the deeper the ship got in the atmosphere, the better shielded it would be from the probe's weapons. Which would give the probe a reason to pursue it and stay close enough for the weapons to retain their full effect.
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's not really fair. There's nothing wrong with phasers being strong enough to reach targets through a couple of hundred kilometers of air as such - it's just a question of numbers. And we know when the numbers get too big for phasers: in "Extreme Risk", the phasers of the Voyager could no longer destroy the compromising probe when there was 10,000 km of air between it and the ship.

    Pursuing the E-D into the atmosphere was nevertheless a satisfying twist, because it brings a bit of realism to the ability of a teeny weeny device to threaten a giant starship. Phasers seem to benefit greatly from being used at point blank ranges even across vacuum; one might deduce that they rapidly lose power over distance, regardless of the medium (although having a medium might still make things even worse), and a tiny assailant would need to make the most of the advantage provided by reduced range.

    As for the general method of "fighting in a burning house", it should really only work against really obsessed pursuers who are out of options themselves and cannot wait for your demise outside the burning house. Some of the Trek examples qualify, others do not. And players like the Borg are just plain nuts anyway.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Did any TREK episode ever use that overworked trope of slamming on the retros and watching the enemy fly right past?
     
  8. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, I see it similar to dogfighting aircraft, when they take the fight down to the deck (low to the ground).

    Or taking the fight thru canyons or asteroids or mountain passes or The Badlands.

    It's making use of available terrain or conditions to gain advantage over an opponent. Not unheard of, both in fiction and real-life.
     
  9. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I have laughed my head off at the title of this thread.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm sure I've seen instances of ships dropping to impulse to fall behind ships at warp, but I'm not sure whether they were onscreen or in books or comics.

    (See also the Jim Rockford maneuver of pulling into a parking lot, letting the pursuing car go past, then turning around and heading in the other direction. Or his trademark Rockford turn -- shift into reverse, drive straight back past the pursuers, then do a 180-degree spin while still moving and end up going forward without slowing down.)
     
  11. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's when Sulu added a "suicide knob" to the helm—and the real reason we have leap years. The Enterprise ended up deeper into our past while aiming for 1968 in "Assignment Earth." During the correction maneuver, Sulu side-stepped the clutch and "left rubber" on the continuum. Chekov thought it was cool, but Kirk wasn't amused.
     
  12. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    You're out of hand, Metryq. :lol:
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No episode, no - but ST:NEM has Shinzon do a sudden stop and fire at the six of his Romulan counterpart in the fight at Bassen Rift.

    So not really "overworking" yet, but one does wonder why this should help. Why is the six of a Romulan warbird more vulnerable than her twelve? The Romulans in the fight did not appear to use weapons that would only be capable of firing forward, nor was there dialogue to indicate that the rear shields of the warbird would be down. All we heard was that Donatra concentrated her ship's offensive power to her forward disruptors because she thought the Scimitar was too wounded to maneuver out of the way, but such diverting of resources only took seconds and could have been undone equally fast.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I gotta tell you that the Picard Maneuver wasn't quite as interesting as the writers hoped.
     
  15. Garrovick

    Garrovick Commander Red Shirt

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    The Rockford Files was awesome.

    I sometimes wonder - the space-based weapon in The Arsenal of Freedom didn't disappear when Picard agreed to buy the system like the ground-based one did - I assume this is because of some type of damage to the machine which leads to the space module not getting the message to shut down. Presumably, when the Drake arrived at the planet, a similar sequence of events started as what happened to the Enterprise when it arrived - a ground-based weapon wiped out the Drake's landing party and a space module took out the ship. Let's suppose that the first weapon sent against the Drake was "stupid" similar to the first weapon that was destroyed by Yar - it just stood there and fired. Then the Echo Papa sent out a second space weapon, this time armed with a cloak, which was sufficient to overwhelm and destroy the Drake.

    Said space module then never shut down and was hanging around in orbit to attack the Enterprise when it arrived (maybe in some kind of dormant state explaining why it didn't attack right away as soon as the E entered orbit). Let's say that, after La Forge's idea of suckering it into the planet's atmosphere worked and it was destroyed, if Picard had not been able to shut off the Echo Papa, would it have sent another weapon after the Enterprise, this one smart enough not to enter the atmosphere?
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We could also argue that two completely different virtual salesmen were selling two completely different products to two completely different customers - the landing party and the starship. LaForge just never realized he was being negotiated with / advertised at.

    But such models still fail to explain why LaForge had to suffer that attack after Picard's solution - but no further attacks beyond it. If a different machine was selling a different weapon to LaForge, it should not have stopped when LaForge used the turbulence trick. If the same machine was doing the sales pitch, it should definitely have stopped simultaneously with the ground-based unit.

    We do have to assume the unit LaForge destroyed was somehow out of control. But possibly it was in good working order, and was sent a proper shutdown command - it's just that the ionization associated with the turbulence trick meant that it never received it!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    Or we were watching events that were transpiring simultaneously, but for storytelling purposes were not presented as such. Thus, Enterprise destroyed the orbiting probe at about the same time Picard made his purchase offer.

    But, of course, that's just speculation.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That'd work just fine, too - if not for the explicit dialogue that ruins the perfectly good interpretation.

    Clumsy. :(

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    Oops, sorry. I forgot about that. Haven't seen the episode since the '80s.
     
  20. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd say that this episode is a game of chicken played by Janeway against some aliens. They quit first. Playing against Janeway's stubborness? I'd say that proves they were intelligent aliens.

    Yet, headlessness hasn't damaged your posting style at all!:bolian: I am impressed.