The stupidity in Booby Trap

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by jimbotron, May 2, 2013.

  1. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    They discover nearby asteroids are actually energy collectors that convert the energy from a ship into deadly radiation.

    So then Riker suggests they shoot a beam of ENERGY at the deadly energy collectors. What can possibly go wrong?

    Data rightly warns them that the phasers might provide the collectors with just what they need - energy. At least this time, Picard ignores Data's apt advice rather than poor Worf.
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Riker sometimes isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.
     
  3. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, that was a face-palm moment. "We're trapped by energy collector. Phasers are energy. Load up a spread of photons and fire". Or suit up a couple of engineers and explosives specialist, space walk over the collector and plant a demo-charge.
     
  4. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Then at the end, they fire some photons at 3-4 collectors plus the Promelian cruiser. Didn't Data say there were hundreds of thousands of collectors?

    Also, why destroy the cruiser? Set up a warning beacon, and send a survey team to retrieve the vessel. It was one of a kind, after all. You just blew up "the bottle", captain. :D
     
  5. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    "We must protect the priceless artifact" *BOOM!* "Lunch?"

    And lords know I love TNG, but this episode is a prime example of how they overthink a problem. They can't use anything energy based, they can't use engines. Rather than risk being trapped with their escape attempt, just dragg a torp out an airlock, spacesuit it over to the collectors, put them on timers, and boom problem solved.
     
  6. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's like a Chinese finger trap. The more you pull, the tighter it gets. Their solution was to move their fingers so quickly, they would release before the trap could tighten.

    It seems silly that there's no way to move a ship in space without using warp or impulse power. Thrusters seem to work with all the computers off, so why not get out using only maneuvering thrusters?

    The problem was overthought. Don't try cheating the trap, circumvent it completely. Heck, they avoided destruction a couple years later by opening a shuttlebay.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    That's just silly. Everything is "energy based", from shoelaces to particle accelerators to photon torpedoes to chemical explosives. There's no particular reason to think that phasers would automatically be among the things the collectors can neutralize or utilize - especially if phasers were not part of the Promellian arsenal originally. And Picard seems to think of the Promellians as a kind of primitive forebears of Starfleet, achieving great things with less advanced hardware...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "Energy-based" is rather broad. I'd say a photon torpedo is just a fancy projectile. Trek seems to treat physical projectiles differently than energy weapons. For instance, the Borg will 'adapt' to phasers and create shields, but you can still shoot them with bullets or stab them.

    A phaser beam is concentrated energy used to overload/overheat the target. Something like an EMP or stun-gun. But at its core, it's basically an electrical current. Shooting an electrical current at something that converts electrical energy into deadly radiation seems most unwise.
     
  9. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually it makes sense to try it. Even if you're in a cell with bars that are solid, you try the bars first before doing the unconventional. Same thing if you locked in a room. You try the locked door first, then move onto other things. It was worth a shot to see if the ancient energy draining technology could stand up to modern equipment.

    RAMA
     
  10. Just because the asteroids collect energy doesn't mean that they can collect an infinite amount of it. It's certainly conceivable that the Enterprise's phasers could have overwhelmed the asteroids and destroyed them.
     
  11. Takeru

    Takeru Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I remember seeing this episode and just being confused by the ending, the thrusters Picard activated worked like a charm and moved the ship in the desired direction. Why didn't they use them in the first place and even if they didn't realize they would work, why did they act like Picard flying the ship out of the trap was a big deal? Oh no, we're not gonna make it ... wait a minute, the captain's using the asteroid's gravity, we'll survive!!! Couldn't he have just used the thrusters to move forward instead of left and right? Shut up, Wesley!
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    In their inaugural episode, they easily adapted to photon torpedoes without even having to take damage from an initial shot.

    As for bullets, those worked once. Everything works once against the Borg (except photon torpedoes, which don't work even once). There's no indication the old aceton assimilators would have been equally flexible in their response...

    Actually, they didn't - the episode was quite confusing on that issue.

    Anything powerful enough to make the ship move would have been countered by the assimilators. But LaForge figured out that doing an extremely quick burst with the impulse engines would be both powerful enough to get the ship moving and unnoticeable enough to avoid a countermove from the assimilators.

    Only after the impulse engines had kicked the ship into motion did the thrusters come into play. They were barely strong enough to slightly adjust the course of the ship, and their sustained use would have attracted an assimilator attack (plus, accelerating on thrusters would have taken too long and everybody would have died from the slow but ongoing radiation attack). But brief bursts again avoided assimilator attention and allowed the ship to dodge those rocks that got in the way.

    We never got a scene in any of the Trek shows or movies where thrusters would have been sufficient to get the ship from A to B. They can get the ship moving at a crawling pace, such as when piloting out of a spacedock. But if that's the best they can do, they would have to operate for months if not years to get the ship to another planet, through an asteroid belt, or whatnot.

    Those thruster scenes do have some built-in silliness, to be sure. Sometimes a thruster creates a bright flame, sometimes not. And when going around the big rock, Picard supposedly fires thrusters that get the ship spinning ("starboard aft"), which shouldn't alter the actual trajectory at all - the ship would still move straight ahead (albeit spinning) and would crash into the asteroid. But perhaps the dialogue is just slightly inaccurate, or we miss key phrases because of the cuts in the action - and perhaps Picard has a valid reason for spinning the ship, as this would bring some "tidal" forces into play to further affect the way the ship's CoG is moving.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If there were, then we attempt to destroy the farthest one we can both detect and target. If it emits radiation, okay that won't work on the ones closest to us. If the collector blows up (or simply stops working) then we destroy the ones closest to us and create a path out for the ship.

    Even if it was a solid ball of iron, how much could it's gravity have been anyway? maybe if the Enterprise were moving at a slow walking speed.

    :)
     
  14. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There's further stupidity later in The Hunted. With all the security they have, Danar is able to run up behind a guard who was facing a force field for some silly reason, knock out the guy, and then use the communicator to lower the force field.

    Riker asks how he could have done it. How about Danar signaled lower a force field without first identifying himself or providing some kind of authorization code?

    Odo was right to chew out Worf when he joined DS9.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    We're witnessing a scale discrepancy in such scenes anyway: despite dialogue, such rocks aren't thousands or even hundreds of kilometers away. But perhaps we're to believe that they are, in which case it basically follows that they are also realistically large rocks with lots of pull. ;)

    Doesn't sound likely, because why wouldn't the system ask for an ID? In which case Riker's amazement is appropriate, and Danar is astoundingly clever.

    That's what the writers want us to believe, so why not believe them? We have to commit a double fault if we want to believe that Damar did something trivial and Riker is not entitled to express wonder.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. t_smitts

    t_smitts Captain Captain

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    Blowing up the ship at the end really bugged me as well. Surely deploying some warning beacons would've been enough until some more starships came to clear out the assimilators.

    Also, quick question: If the planet was the destroyed in the battle where, as Picard says, the Promelians and Menthars "fought to their mutual extinction", who planted the assimilators on the asteroids?
     
  17. The Librarian

    The Librarian Commodore Commodore

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    Good luck getting a photon torpedo over to one of those assimilators in a space suit, given that the radiation is so powerful that it's overwhelming a starship's shields. As for the phasers, it made sense to me - you hit the assimilators with so much concentrated energy in the right form that they can't absorb it and they're destroyed.
     
  18. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I always wondered why they couldn't use a tractor beam from outside the energy field to pull the batlecruiser out.

    They reconfigure that damn tractor beam just about every other way when they need to.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The dialogue in the beginning is curious.

    This makes it sound very much as if Orelious IX was but one of the many battle sites in the conflict. Thus, there would have been many other locations where Promellians and Menthars would have dwelt, and we have no idea whether those were reduced to rubble or not.

    The dialogue would be very odd if Orelious IX were the shared homeworld of the two species. How could Wesley distinguish "the final battle" by the location if it's the homeworld yet Data's statement makes it clear that this location wasn't supposed to be the one where the conflict would be solved once and for all? And clearly Wesley is distinguishing the battle by the location, as he refers to the asteroid field when saying "this was the final battle" - there is nothing else he can be referring to, really.

    Yet the fight at Orelious IX specifically (rather than the overall war) involved the Promellians and the Menthars fighting to their mutual extinction. Taken literally, that would seem to indicate there were no Promellians or Menthars anywhere else, or at least that any such individuals elsewhere had already perished before this particular battle. But we can just as well assume that there were X Promellians and Y Menthars present in the battle of Orelious IX, and that there were zero survivors - after which the remaining Promellians and Menthars elsewhere continued the war, and the Menthars planted those traps for the Promellians. Orelious IX was merely "decisive" in the sense that X and Y were very large numbers and their elimination crippled both sides, making the rest of the war pale in comparison.

    Mind you, if we interpret Data's phrase the above way, no statement remains to the effect that either species would have gone extinct. The Captain of the vessel didn't seem to think he would be the last Promellian in the universe, judging by the message... But if there are Promellians left in the universe, then Picard really should at least have informed them before blowing up their relic of a ship! (Perhaps he sent them a postcard afterwards?)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    I could never understand why Federation starships are equipped with only energy weapons. Why not a few warheads for alternative fire power? Plus, you can replicate them as long as you've got sufficient power, thus very little inventory limitation. Not everything is susceptible to energy weapons and in the case of "Booby Trap", missiles would've done the job beautifully.
     

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