"Cause and Effect" -- an interesting point

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by martok2112, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They made a big deal in TNN about the tractor beam being used to push a ship away rather than pulling it closer.
     
  2. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's eyerolling whenever the ship's functions stop working, rendering the ship motionless. They couldn't have used thrusters?

    Thrusters appear to work by some sort of explosive propulsion, like a rocket. Even in a case like Booby Trap, they can't move by warp or impulse, but I bet a kinetic force would have worked. Thrusters even worked to steer them out of there, so why not use them from the start, back when they had plenty of power?

    Long story short, if they had kept around some old-fashioned rocket boosters, they'd prevent these problems. :techman:
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Thrusters may be more rudimentary than the other propulsion systems, but they cannot be considered "manual backup": if systems start going down, the system that allows Wes or Data to activate the thrusters with keypresses on their consoles is likely to be among them, and the thrusters will just sit through the crisis, waiting in vain for commands.

    I'm sure that given at least fifteen minutes, a starship might be able to implement truly "manual" emergency measures (as is done with the Defiant in "For the Uniform"). But "Cause and Effect" isn't a situation where that would be possible. You can't just rig steel rods from a helm lever to a match that will ignite a backup rocket - there must be systems in between that can and will go down at the worst moment.

    Yup. The sequence of events there was roughly this:

    1) Wesley demonstrates competence in tractor beam tech by building a scale model to toy with; it's cute, but we don't learn it would introduce anything new to tractor beam technology
    2) The ship stops next to a star that is about to blow up; after catching a bug from a science ship, everybody gets drunk, and the E-D gets disabled, including a drunkard yanking out all the circuits that control propulsion
    3) The star blows up; while repairs of control circuits are underway, time must be bought, and the heroes want to push the now-empty science ship towards the approaching deadly ejecta from the star, not in an attempt at Newtonian propulsion (which wouldn't work, since Wesley's toy already showed that tractor beams are completely non-Newtonian - no reaction to action) but to slow down the deadly ejecta
    4) Wesley is the only one who knows how to rig the tractor beam to push rather than pull, and proceeds to do so; the day is saved, circuits repaired, and the E-D warps to safety

    Now, the fourth item there would seem problematic, as tractor beams always have been "rigid beams" rather than "tow cables", i.e. they have been able to push. But we can argue that

    a) everybody had hangover and was not thinking straight, or
    b) turning a "rigid beam" into a "catapult" does take effort, as it introduces the all-new step of pushing away and letting go with the precision of an Olympic-level shot put athlete.

    Or something. The use of a tractor beam to push something away in this exact fashion - push and release - is indeed unique to "The Naked Now".

    ...Or is it? Since we don't see a tractor beam in action in the final iteration of "Cause and Effect", but it's shown above that it probably was activated in that iteration, too, this would technically have been another push-and-release use.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I always figured that the tractor beam was working to some degree in C&E, it just didn't have the level of power or the time needed to achieve the desired effect. In this case, 90% of a success was still a catastrophic failure.

    But the ship -is- deflected a bit, isn't it?
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There's a sharp twist in the Bozeman trajectory, yes.

    In fact, it looks as if the tractor beam fails in mid-run, because suddenly the trajectory returns to a straight-line one (despite the tractor beam visuals still clinging to the mystery ship), and immediately thereafter, the two nacelles collide.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Binary

    Binary Ensign Red Shirt

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    The poor saps were blown out into space and died horribly. However, the only other choice was to let the oncoming ship smash into the Enterprise and they would have been killed anyway!
    (All vicious callousness aside, people do get killed in these stories. 19 crewmembers were killed in the episode, where Q introduces them to the Borg. A bunch were said to have died in the episode 'Disaster', etc.)CREkj
     
  7. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Great Scott!
     
  8. Paul Weaver

    Paul Weaver Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Or c) The Enterprise-D's tractor beams can't push, only arrest relative motion or pull. At least until Wesley redesigns them in the second episode of TNG, and of course from then on they can push.

    I can't think of any episodes where a tractor beam is used to push aside from TNN and CAE. In The Battle it arrests the Stargazer, most of the time it's simply towing, with no relative movement, and the rest of the cases it's pulling. Effectively the tractor beam acts as a rigid beam, or a pulling beam, but you can't use a rigid beam to push anything, you have to move the bar, at least until Wesley invents pushing.
     
  9. Paradise City

    Paradise City Commodore Commodore

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    They are on some sort of mission to...erm..look at gas and interesting clouds.

    Ain't noone gonna be in the Shuttlebay guys. Anyone in the shuttle bay would probably be some slacker having a 5 minute smoke on the sly and who needs types like that on your team?
     
  10. keith2282

    keith2282 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I always kind of wondered why propulsion was the only thing that was effected, and not many other systems. I mean the tractor beam system worked. The controls to open the cargo bay doors worked. Even red alert and the other alert that started sounding right before the ship blew up. I guess I just don't understand why propulsion or the ability to move the ship was the only thing that seemed to be effected, you can hear the "no way" sounds as they hit the buttons. Granted, its been a while since I watched this episode, although I have watching it extensively throughout the years.
     
  11. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^There were obviously power issues as the main bridge illumination failed. I also maintain that the tractor beam systems were compromised.

    For all we know, things like weapons and transporters and such were off-line as well. They just weren't pertinent to the situation.

    Although I would pay good money to see a version of the episode where Worf recommends destroying the Bozeman to prevent the collision. :p
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Apparently, the Bozeman was also selectively disabled: the lights on the saucer rim windows still glow, but the warp engines are dark and dead, and probably so are the impulse engines. The Bozeman crew ought to have seen the E-D with the same lead time, but they, too, were helpless to prevent the collision.

    So the Typhon Effect (for the duration of the connection between the eras remaining open) might be especially harmful to propulsive subspace fields, creating identical troubles on both ships. Or then it's generally disruptive, and sheer chance shuts down propulsion on both ships.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. JesterFace

    JesterFace Fleet Captain Commodore

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    "The warpcore shutdown was unsuccesfull"
    "The warpcore ejection system is offline"

    Those two sentences within 10 seconds of each other can ruin any episode...

    AND warp engines won't work, impulse drive won't work... I don't remember what else was offline but that scene alone ruins the entire episode for me. Everything seems to be offline when needed... except the tractor beam and shuttlebay doors which are required to make the plot work.
     
  14. keith2282

    keith2282 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    ^ I agree. and I understand both sides of the argument. But I am on the side that finds it convenient things don't work until right after the ship passes. Then lights come back on, everything comes back on.
    I understand why some people thinks it makes sense (like its related to the disturbance etc). But for some reason I just don't like it.
     
  15. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's probably not the best explanation out there, but, for me at least, it's tangential enough to the plot of the episode that I don't really care. Much like Our Heroes only ever being the only ship available to render assistance in a timely manner with regards to the Crisis of the Week/Film.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    How else could the plot transpire? Our heroes on all but the very first loops have advance warning that something is about to happen. Their ship ought to be able to cope with most of the nasty surprises the universe can throw at them (or if she cannot do that, then all the other episodes of Star Trek are invalidated!). So something surprising will have to happen to their ability to deal with surprises.

    It's standard Star Trek in every sense: the heroes are threatened by something that is exotic enough to qualify as scifi, meaning it will have to be explained to the audience at a snail's pace. It's just that this time there isn't time for that in the conventional sense, so an extra twist in the tale provides that time via looping.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. keith2282

    keith2282 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I don't know.. maybe something else happening before hand that damaged the ship enough to be limping when they came across it? But yeah, only can fit so much things in an hour.
     
  18. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    More like 15 minutes or so given that they had to replay the events. :)
     
  19. keith2282

    keith2282 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Yes yes I know I know... smarty pants :)

    You know what I meant though. I did like the idea of the episode and I got a slightly dark side where I like seeing the Enterprise blow up. I guess because it doesn't happen often (except for apparently the movies lol)
     
  20. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The teaser is certainly an attention-grabber.

    I'm pretty sure I wasn't alone in thinking I must have somehow tuned into the middle of the episode (not so far from reality, all things considered), when I started watching it the first time it aired.