The prefix number

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by xvicente, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. xvicente

    xvicente Captain Captain

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    The scene in ST II from the Reliant's attack to Enterprise's counter-attack is awesome.

    Among other things it's nice to see the Enterprise's various bridge operations -- Kirk and Spock first check the damage control panel, then Spock goes to his computer station to get the code, then he goes to the weapons to lower Reliant's shields -- it's not random at all.

    But is funny how the code can't have repeated numbers: the buttons (more like switches) don't come back after pressed, see:

    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/twok/ch7/twok0565.jpg

    and

    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/twokhd/twokhd0517.jpg

    So it can be 16309 but not 66309, for example.
     
  2. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    ^I suppose flipping the switch to its starting position would repeat the number, but you could be right.

    --Sran
     
  3. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If there weren't that many ships in the Starfleet at the time, it might not have been necessary for prefix codes to have repeated numbers yet (which I guess would make each prefix code carefully chosen by people rather than randomly assigned by some computer, IMO).
     
  4. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    The prefix code seems like a good idea, but it's only one digit longer than the security code to get into my phone. Hardly seems like the most secure method to prevent hacking. At least they gave starship computer security some thought, though....
     
  5. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Well, presumably the codes would be used only by Starfleet officers in an emergency situation, such as when Picard uses the Enterprise computer to gain control of the USS Lantree. As Starfleet is an organization that functions based on trust, it wouldn't be necessary to have lengthy security codes. But your point is well taken.

    --Sran
     
  6. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There could be countless layers of fractal encryption that an outside (non-Starfleet) computer has to get through just to get to the prefix code. It also may be accessible only from the bridge maybe.
     
  7. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Shame they forgot about it most of the time. We have plenty of episodes where one starfleet ship is pursuing another and using the prefix code would end the chase quickly. Such as in DSN's "Past Prologue".
     
  8. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Or available only to officers of command-level rank or higher. After all, it was Spock who provided Kirk with Reliant's code, as though he had some sort secret code-book from which he took the information.

    --Sran
     
  9. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    I get the sense it's only used as a last resort, sort of like the auto-destruct. Who knows what it would take to program in a new code, given that it's used to take over all major bridge functions?

    --Sran
     
  10. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    It can't be too hard to change the prefix code. Spock considered Khan capable of doing it. He probably would have, too, if he had known about it.
     
  11. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Khan who was a genetically-enhanced superhuman. After all, Saavik was herself highly intelligent, and she had no idea what Kirk and Spock were doing until the admiral explained it to her.

    --Sran
     
  12. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Which might just mean that junior officers aren't aware of all the security measures available on a starship. Somebody had to be the cabbage head, and Saavik was the only one who could play that part for the audience.
     
  13. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Which only proves my point. If a Starfleet cadet or junior officer doesn't know of the prefix code's existence, why would a criminal from the twentieth century? That Spock assumed Khan could not only know of the code but be able to reprogram it speaks to his respect for Khan's intellect. He follows up his suggestion that Khan changed the code by saying, "He's quite intelligent."

    --Sran
     
  14. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Spock probably presumed Khan might have hacked Reliant's computer systems and consequently learned about the prefix code, whereas Saavik wouldn't be doing such things.
     
  15. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, and sometimes intelligence manifests as simply being aware enough to bother looking something up. Khan's smart enough to do that, if he hadn't been overconfident.
     
  16. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    And hacking into a starship's main computer would require intelligence.

    Whether Khan looked up the code says nothing about what it would have taken to change the code.

    --Sran
     
  17. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, it does. If Khan could look up the code, then Spock's fear that he might have changed it suggests that it is possible to change it in the field, on the fly, with only the resources normally aboard a starship. Spock wouldn't have suggested the possibility otherwise.
     
  18. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Only the resources normally aboard a starship? It seems to me that there are a lot of resources normally available aboard a starship. In any case, that doesn't mean that it's easy to do. Khan possessed advanced intelligence that almost certainly enabled him to do things that most people couldn't even dream of.

    --Sran
     
  19. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Khan's intelligence isn't magical. He is smart, not omnipotent. When he was brought aboard in "Space Seed", they let him have access to the entire ship's library. That gave him a lot of insight into Starfleet capabilities and operations. If he had bothered to do the same thing again after capturing Reliant, he might have won.

    As for changing the prefix code, it could be anything from simply telling the computer to change it (he had Captain Terrell under his thumb to do it if he needed a senior officer to do so) to some major hardware swapping. We don't know what it takes, just that it can be done in the field.
     
  20. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Then why did you say that it couldn't be too hard?

    --Sran
     

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