Need help with a TOS fan fic

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by RB_Kandy, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. RB_Kandy

    RB_Kandy Commander Red Shirt

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    I am not a very experienced writer. I am currently writing a TOS fan fiction that will be 20 to 30 pages long. My problem is, I am trying to write a sub plot where Spock is in command of the bridge, and Scotty is trying to fix the engines.
    In order to establish a lot of dialogue between Scotty and Spock, I need to mention a lot of techno babble.

    example, Spock says "I thought you said that repair would only take you an hour."

    "Aye, sir, that's when I had assumed the X was merely misaligned, but it turns out that it's not just the X but also the X, the whole thing burnt out and welded itself together, I can't even get to it until I remove the X."

    "well how long will this take?"

    "honestly sir, 1 to 5 hours"

    "that's a considerable margin of error."

    "well it will be an additional hour to repair the X, but if the cause of the entire malfunction is X, I will have to completely dismantle the X, recalibrate by hand, re-assemble the X, bleed the X dry, and run low level diagnostics. The diagnostics alone is going to be 45 minutes, if I skip those, there's a greater chance X will blow up all of engineering than actually bringing warp drive back on. And my two best officers are in sick bay, sir"

    In the above statements, all of the X's need to be filled in with technobabble and jargon. But I don't know how to do this.

    I wish I knew more about TOS engineering. Are there any resources that get into some TOS technobabble or theory of how the ship runs?
     
  2. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  3. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    My suggestion...

    Spock says "I thought you said that repair would only take you an hour."

    "Aye, sir, that's when I had assumed the plasma conduit was merely misaligned, but it turns out that it's not just the plasma conduit but also the plasma converter, the whole thing burnt out and welded itself together, I can't even get to it until I remove the theta matrix compositor.."

    "well how long will this take?"

    "honestly sir, 12 to 15 hours"

    "that's a considerable margin of error."

    "well it will be an additional hour to repair the plasma conduit, but if the cause of the entire malfunction is back in the bowels of the ship, I will have to completely dismantle the plasma distribution manifold, recalibrate by hand, re-assemble the compositor, bleed the conduits dry, and run low level diagnostics. The diagnostics alone is going to be 45 minutes, if I skip those, there's a greater chance the whole thing will blow up all of engineering than actually bringing warp drive back on. And my two best officers are in sick bay, sir"
     
  4. RB_Kandy

    RB_Kandy Commander Red Shirt

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    Brilliant, you are amazing.
    we need a Wayne's World "we're not worthy" emoticon.
     
  5. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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  6. Count Zero

    Count Zero Welcome to the Danger Zone! Moderator

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    I'm moving this to Fan Fiction where it belongs.
     
  7. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Scotty should just say, "Well, sir, everything is more f*cked up than it first appeared to be. I'll need _____ more hours minimum, and my two best officers are in Sickbay."


    'Cause Spock would be right in pointing out that by the time Scotty got through the previous explanation, he could have had a lot of it already done. ;)
     
  8. nightwind1

    nightwind1 Commodore Commodore

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    TOS hardly EVER used technobabel. So I would suggest just keep it simple (if you want to sound as TOS-like as possible).
     
  9. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    First fo all, Spock would never say, "I thought you said that repair would only take you an hour." In fact, it's as unSpocklike as can be, as is, "Well how long will this take?"

    Also, I never saw Scotty give an estimate he had to back of like this. Assuming it did happen, in-character dialog would go more like this:

    SPOCK: Mr. Scott, you stated that the repair would only take one hour.
    SCOTTY: Aye, sir, that's when I had assumed the—
    SPOCK: Assumptions are not not based on fact, Mr. Scott. I require a realistic figure.
    SCOTT: Twelve to fifteen hours, sir.
    SPOCK: That is considerable margin of error. Explain.

    At which point Scott better damned well have a "logical" explanation.
     
  10. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    ^The obvious next line by Mr. Scott would be, "Aye, sometimes there's a lot of error involved, sir."
     
  11. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    lol, I can see him doing that!
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    More to the point, you don't need the technobabble. All the reader needs to know is "it's broken" and this is how long it will take to fix.
     
  13. Methos

    Methos Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    sometimes technobabble makes the fic though...

    characters like Scotty, are known for giving explanations that involve needlessly long words and details about the repairs... for him to simply say...

    "Aye cap'n, repairs'll be two hours."

    Would be out of character for him, where as him filling in the information with what is wrong and why, is far more fitting and in character... without little quirks like this, it could just be a nameless engineer on the ship answering the question, rather than a named and fleshed out character.

    M
     
  14. Chemahkuu

    Chemahkuu Admiral Admiral

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    These, work just nicely and cut down on the babble and give a good badinage we're used to from TOS.

    If you really must, maybe the Antimatter induction valves, it always seems to be something wrong with the antimatter in TOS.
     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Missed this before:
    Quote one such instance outside his appearance in TNG.

    Compared to later engineers Scotty was a model of brevity.
     
  16. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Technobabble is one of the things that always gives me trouble. I often check out the websites Memory Alpha and Memory Beta to get information.
     
  17. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As has been pointed out TOS made very little use of technobabble, it being a product of later versions of Trek. In his autobiography James Doohan claims he argued against Scotty's use of technobabble in 'Relics', on the grounds that neither Scotty nor real life engineers talked like that. He was told that Rick Berman likes it, and that was the final word.

    So to capture the TOS style, keep it short and simple: "Aye, I said an hour, but I thought the conduit had just burnt out. Turns out it'd overloaded, fusing the distributor entirely. Whole thing's got to be hauled out an' replaced. That's a six to eight hour job to begin with, an' it' take just as long to bring it up to operatin' temperature. An' that's if we rush things, an there's no delays. I'm sorry Mister Spock, but I just canna do it faster than that."
     
  18. RB_Kandy

    RB_Kandy Commander Red Shirt

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    Well I have completely written past the scene I was needing help with. And I would have had this fan fic written weeks ago if it weren't for my health taking a turn for the worst.

    I hear some of you saying technobabble isn't a good thing, and I agree. But I wanted to put Scotty in a scene. And I wanted Spock to come to engineering and have him and Scotty exchange dialogue. Now obviously they aren't going to talk about philosophy, they're going to talk about getting warp engines online, and the technobabble being just padding between some whimsical moments and banter.

    It is my belief that technobabble makes for good padding, but makes a horrible plot device.

    I also think technobabble can be used for a bit of comedy. such as:
    Kirk gets on the intercom and asks Scotty how the progress is going. Scotty whips out an enormous line of nonsensical technobabble. Kirk says "Good good. But what about the quantum defibrillator? is it running."
    Scotty says puzzled "uh, aye sir, it's working fine."
    "Glad to hear it, Kirk out."
    And one of the crewmen overhears and says "wow Captain, you've studied quantum warp mechanics?"
    Kirk smiles and says "No, actually I have no idea what the quantum defibrillator is. For all I know Scotty made it up. I just like to ask questions. Makes it seem like I'm on his tail, to keep him busy."
     
  19. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Technobabble that does nothing to advance (or at least enhance) the plot or characterization is just alphabet soup. It's not good padding, and it's definitely not good reading.

    One of the best instances of TOS technobabble I ever saw was where Scotty told Kirk that something had gone "haywire." Kirk replied, "'Haywire' is not an acceptable engineering term, Mr. Scott." So Scotty explained the situation in more normal terms, but it wasn't full of meaningless babble.
     

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