Transphasic shields in the novels

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by DS9forever, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. DS9forever

    DS9forever Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've often wondered if the novels describe the same (awful looking) shielding that deployed on Voyager in "Endgame" being used on ships like the Defiant or the Enterprise?
     
  2. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    ^They haven't. At least not yet..
     
  3. shanejayell

    shanejayell Captain Captain

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    I think it was estabished that the Borg had evolved a attack against it, so there was no point in deploying it across the fleet.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The term "transphasic" applied to the torpedoes, not the shielding, which was just called "armor."

    And the "Endgame" armor -- often nicknamed "Batmobile armor" -- is, quite simply, a stupid idea. There's no good reason for using it. It's heavy and ponderous. It would reduce the ship's maneuverability, and it would block the ship's ability to radiate excess heat, thereby eventually cooking the crew inside the ship if they used it too long. (Contrary to the "space is cold" assumption, vacuum is a superb insulator, so ships are at more risk of overheating than freezing.) And when you're dealing with space battles involving high-energy plasma weapons, thick armor would actually do more harm than good, because high-energy charged particles striking a dense armor material will actually create more deadly radiation in the form of x-rays. So far from protecting the crew inside, dense armor plating would basically doom them.

    The only credible reason why they used it in "Endgame" at all is because the Borg hadn't seen it before and thus wouldn't have adapted to it -- but the reason they hadn't seen it before is probably because it's so damn stupid that nobody would use it for any other reason.
     
  5. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I really think they only reason they even used in Endgame was because it "looked cool", and once you lose the visual aspect, it really serves no purpose that couldn't be covered by regular shields.
     
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Unless they shared it with the Typhon Pact, it very much would be of use fleet-wide.

    Christopher can pretend it's useless and invent excuses all he wants (I'm sure they have a technobabbulant way to vent that excess heat). "Endgame" didn't show any of the cons described. In the episode itself it was portrayed as the ultimate, virtually-impenatrable defence. Just another of Trek's one-off advances swept under the rug.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What the hell?! Where's this snide condescension coming from? I'm not inventing a damn thing. I'm explaining how the laws of physics work. How are the actual laws of physics more "pretend" than some lame-ass special-effects gimmick Brannon Braga ripped off from Tim Burton? How is a decent education an "excuse?" You really need to dial back the gratuitous hostility there.

    And a whole lot about "Endgame" was just plain stupid.

    Yes, and if you'd open your mind for a moment you'd understand that real science offers a nice, handy, reasonable explanation for why it was only a one-off advance. If you're unhappy about it being swept under the rug, then you should be glad that real science explains it so handily, instead of being a jerk to me about it.
     
  8. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I apologize, that did come out incredibly harshly. It wasn't my intention to be condescending. Merely to point out that none of the drawbacks were in the episode itself. Sorry.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Okay, apology accepted.

    Still, there was one main drawback to the armor in the episode itself, namely that it was stupid. For 35 years we'd been shown that Federation technology had energy shields that were immensely more advanced and effective than any physical armor, and then suddenly Berman & Braga decide they can represent even more futuristic shielding by slapping a bunch of metallic Venetian blinds around the ship? It doesn't even fit within the rules and conventions of the fictional universe, let alone the real one.
     
  10. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    It was Voyager during it last two seasons. Mostly, I just try to accept that it happened, and then forget it. Accept for some funky looking SFX, it added nothing to the story. I suppose that's the entire point behind it. If Admiral Janeway came back and said "I have this great new shield technoloy that will be uberspanktastic" but did nothing in terms of SFX, fans would have complained aswell, that it was just some plottwist to make Voyager even more invincible. So B&B figured, let's make it look COOL, then the fans will love us. Kinda backfired on them, didn't it??
     
  11. TiberiusMaximus

    TiberiusMaximus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    It...doesn't even look that cool. It's like a Voyager body cast, if you ask me.
     
  12. Shatinator

    Shatinator Commander Red Shirt

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    Christopher, following your logic how does this physical shielding from "Endgame" differ that much from the Defiant's 'Ablative Armor' from DS9. My understanding is that it is a physical construct as well and not an energy based system.

    To the OP, I was under the impression that Transphasic shields were linked to the TNG episode "Decent", where Crusher was able to delay the Borg by moving closer to a star than the Borg were able to. This was continuity from the episode "Suspicions".

    If so I find it much preferable to "polarizing" the hull that Enterprise tried pulling, another B & B move.

    :techman:
     
  13. shanejayell

    shanejayell Captain Captain

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    Well, correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the "Batmobile" armor and Ablative Armor serve different purposes? Ablative Armor was a backup to shields, as I understood it, and would protect the ship somewhat until the shirlds came back up. It didn't replace or overlap them like the Bat-armor....
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What shane said -- that's not a substitute for deflector shields but a supplement for them.

    Also, the Defiant's ablative armor doesn't block the maneuvering thrusters, heat radiators, sensor ports, etc, but is integrated into the hull of the ship. It's like the difference between buying an armored limousine and completely encasing a normal limousine in thick steel plating. Not to mention that it's a permanent part of the ship rather than something that gets beamed into existence by the replicator system or something, which would take a lot of extra power.


    Those were metaphasic shields. True, "trans-" and "meta-" have overlapping meanings, but once Andre Bormanis became the technical consultant, the actual meanings of the root words that technobabble was built from kinda stopped having any relevance whatsoever. (Like "isolytic charge." "Isolytic" means "dissolving equally." How that can describe something that's basically electricity only more future-y is beyond me.)


    Oh, no, that actually bears some similarity to a real-world principle. I can't remember the details, but I've heard about something that's really used in tanks today, or at least is in prototype, that uses some kind of magnetic or electric field to strengthen the atomic bonds in armor and make it more durable. I've also read recently about a different technology that uses a magnetic field to soften the impact of an exploding shell so it does less damage. So "polarizing the hull plating" is something I can actually buy into as credible. (And it has a Trek precedent too, since it's a similar principle to the structural integrity fields used in the 24th century.)
     
  15. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Voyager's armor

    I'm surprised how impractical the armor in fact is. In "Endgame", I perceived it as the ultimate defense, too.

    Btw, that's also the way it appears in STO: Intrepid-class (and their derivatives) vessels can activate the armor for about a minute. The ship is now almost indestructible, unless its hull was already severely compromised. You can still fire torpedoes but energy weapon systems go offline as long as the armor is active.

    No successor to common shields then. At least that explains why 25th century (STO) Starfleet doesn't equip its entire fleet with an ablative armor generator. Plot hole resolved! :techman:
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Voyager's armor

    Which surprises me, since even within the episode, the Borg adapted to the armor pretty quickly, so any advantage it gave was brief at best. Even in the first battle, before the Borg adapted, the armor was down to 40% integrity in less than a minute. It was never presented as "the ultimate defense," merely as a limited advantage that would delay their destruction long enough to run the Borg's gauntlet and get past it.
     
  17. jedimaster

    jedimaster Ensign Red Shirt

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    Oh, no, that actually bears some similarity to a real-world principle. I can't remember the details, but I've heard about something that's really used in tanks today, or at least is in prototype, that uses some kind of magnetic or electric field to strengthen the atomic bonds in armor and make it more durable. I've also read recently about a different technology that uses a magnetic field to soften the impact of an exploding shell so it does less damage. So "polarizing the hull plating" is something I can actually buy into as credible. (And it has a Trek precedent too, since it's a similar principle to the structural integrity fields used in the 24th century.)[/QUOTE]

    I was reminded of the Night's Dawn Trilogy where the durabilty of Starships and the armor of ground troops can be enhanced by 'valency-bonding generators' presumably applying a field which enhances molecular binding forces between atoms.

    This always struck me as a bit closer to reality than shields, although admittedley not as useful for a Deus Ex Machina for any tech problems in a script.
     
  18. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

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    Pre-Voyager Star Trek has certainly used the idea of a super-strong hull to protect against weapons fire. The Original Series "Planet Killer" had a "neutronium" hull that made standard weapons-fire useless. The material has been mentioned occasionally throughout the years:

    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Neutronium
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Except most of the references to neutronium, especially its use in DS9, make no sense. Neutronium is the stuff neutron stars are (partly) made of. It's so dense that a spoonful would have the mass of a mountain. Its own gravity would pull it into a sphere, so it couldn't have the shape of the Doomsday Machine. And if you made a door out of the stuff, like the door to the Dominion stronghold in "What You Leave Behind," it would instantly plummet through the planet's crust and sink to the center. That is, if such a small amount of neutronium could stably survive at all, which it couldn't, because its own internal degeneracy pressure would cause it to explode back into normal matter.

    Which is why, in The Buried Age, I explained the references to "neutronium" as actually being "hyponeutronium" (a term I cribbed from Diane Duane), a nickname for an alloy of dense, stable transuranic elements with nuclei made mostly of neutrons.
     
  20. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    About the armour.... was it ever stated it was a pure Borg-defense? I mean, yeah, the transphasic torpedoes were, and the Borg couldn't adapt to them. But the shielding could be pretty new, maybe even a prptotype. Perhaps that's why Admiral Janeway took that shuttle, thinking it might work against the Borg, but was never tested properly against them.