Why don't phasers shoot straight?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Keeper, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ And apparently they can make one really wide beam... seems kinda practical, yet they rarely use it!
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I don't see why it would have to be specifically stated. It's an explanation that fits the plentiful visual evidence, and it makes technological and tactical sense...

    Anyway, what Kira says about the Federation phaser in "Return to Grace" includes these bits:

    The fact that it can "acquire" targets heavily suggests that it can also lock on to those targets, i.e. aim itself. Else the feature would make little sense.

    Why? Water coming out of a hose won't reach the target instantaneously, either.

    Nothing in the aired material necessitates phasers to be lightspeed weapons. Indeed, the material seems to establish that the beams are slower than most bullets. A fair exchange, I'd say, considering how much more useful the beam is in comparison with a bullet!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But at times, beams were portrayed to move extremely fast, thus giving 0 time for the target to move.

    If star-ship phasers have a maximum effective range of 300 000 km, then it can also be interpreted that phasers move at the speed of light.
    If same principles are applied to hand-held phasers, then targets shouldn't have any time to move in order to avoid the beam (unless the aim of the shooter is bad).

    Quite simple.
    I don't see the reason why there should be any trade-offs.
    The beams were likely portrayed as moving slower on screen for special effects and giving a 'chance' to our heroes (and their opponents) to survive.
    Otherwise, it would have been a very short story (under the same circumstances).
     
  4. jongredic

    jongredic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There's a one instance that sticks in my mind from VOY's "The Raven". After Seven's shielding has asserted itself, she passes two redshirts who fire at her.

    The guard on the left manages to pull off hitting Seven at an odd angle, but most impressively he does it without actually pressing the fire button. He's holding the phaser with his thumb wrong in the wrong position, and just kinda jabs the phaser in her direction.

    That's the kind of weapon you need in a firefight ;)
     
  5. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Seen here:

    http://tng.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/s3/3x09/thevengeancefactor290.jpg
     
  6. backstept

    backstept Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    wow that totally wrecks my suspension bridge to disbelief island . . . :D hehe
     
  7. Mister_Atoz

    Mister_Atoz Commander Red Shirt

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    I've always liked that scene in 'Return to Grace', though the comparison of the two weapons seems like a thinly veiled analogy to the difference between an AK-47 vs the M-16
     
  8. cultcross

    cultcross Janitor of the Mind Palace Moderator

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    Well except that a beam traces a line back to your exact position for the enemy to aim at :)
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Sure, that's a drawback all right. Then again, not that big a drawback when one considers how assault rifles are used nowadays: scared recruits squeeze off bursts long enough to pinpoiont their own positions by muzzle flash and noise, or even by the pile of spent cartridges growing next to them... :devil:

    Not hand phaser beams, not really. The speed is more or less constant: across the field of vision in three frames of film. Because that's what looks good.

    Which incidentally means that phasers fired across greater distances travel faster. Which isn't all that illogical, since the distances involved are more or less constant anyway: hand phasers only fire across the set, while starship phasers fire across a few kilometers.

    An equally if not more reasonable assumption is that phaser speed can vary, perhaps as a function of input power. After all, we know for a fact that phasers can travel at warp when necessary.

    Why should the same principles apply? A naval cannon today doesn't have the same characteristics as a revolver today, either.

    Because technology isn't omnipotent? If there were no tradeoffs, why would not all starships travel at infinite speed, be impervious to all threats, and capable of destroying the universe with half a shot?

    Right. And that's the Trek reality that we have to live with. Similarly, starships are portrayed as shaking a bit when hit, rather than falling to tiny pieces, because that allows our heroes to survive (and on budget, without requiring expensive pyrotechnics and constant rebuilding of sets). This by no means obligates us to think that the ships should "really" be realistically fragile in the face of antimatter bombing or death rays.

    All of Star Trek is just one big dramatic conceit. That's the "reality" of the show, especially of its fictional technology.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Plecostomus

    Plecostomus Commodore

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    Quoted For Truth.

    Problem I have is everyone wants the hero ship to be nigh perfect in every respect, that eliminates a HUGE chunk of storytelling possibility. What fun is it to travel the universe in a God-like starship that can overcome every obstacle at the push of a button? Problem-solving (man vs ____) is an essential (imo) plot element in most of the stories I enjoy.
     
  11. clint g

    clint g Admiral Admiral

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    Considering how there are no aiming sights on the phasers, there would have to be some sort of auto-aiming/tracking thing going on.
     
  12. cultcross

    cultcross Janitor of the Mind Palace Moderator

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    It'd have to be fairly intelligent, so if you fired at two people standing next to each other, it'd only hit the one you meant.
     
  13. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    i never uunderstood why they didn't have a phaser rifle that fired like the Defiant's pulse phasers...
     

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