Describe if you will, a "real" Star Trek battle...

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Angry Fanboy, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. FatherRob

    FatherRob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    I don't mind the politics, but I have to say that I definitely feel like I have been immersed in interstellar combat when I read a HH novel.

  2. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    I said out, dammit!
    Ya know, that's a good point. Our actual jet fighters in the 60s had switched over to all-missile armament because "experts" decided the age of the dogfight was over. Then reality got in the way over Viet Nam when the MiGs kept managing to get in close (and our crappy Sparrow missiles kept failing). So in the 70s we started putting guns on fighters again, and training the pilots for close-in knife fights at Top Gun and Red Flag.
  3. FatherRob

    FatherRob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    My personal battle thoughts

    Well, if we are trying to get all realistic and such, if I were writing a bible for a reboot of Trek, here would be my battle rules:

    1) Combat within the gravity well of a star must be at impulse speeds. Warp drive use within the gravity well of a star (or other major source of gravitational pull) can lead to undesirable effects on local space, planets, etc.

    2) FTL Combat in the true interstellar medium can only take place using projectile weapons. Beam weapons cannot function at FTL speeds.

    3) Maximum range for phasers would be 100 kilometers.

    4) Maximum range for torpedoes would be dependent upon their speed. At warp 8, a torp has 10 seconds of effective powered life. Based on your warp scale, expand life as you slow the torp down.

    5) Shields take 10 seconds to regain one percentage point of effectiveness after a hit, provided the shield generator has not suffered damage.

    6) Electronic Countermeasures are in use (per Forbin's example), at least for projectile weapons. Beam weapons will be close enough for a visual lock, and thus, unless you are carrying around a giant inflatable starship in your hangar deck, you won't be fooling anyone with a little ECM drone.

    Just my thoughts.

    Not strictly related to combat, per-se, but I would also find a way to equip all crew members with some sort of emergency evac suit that went on when action stations were called. (Yes, I know I am ripping that idea from the HH books, but it makes a world of sense, and allows for a great episode where Captain Yirk and Commander Yor float into one another after destroying their mutual commands, grab bladed weapons, and have a weightless battle to iconic fight music!)

    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  4. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom
    ^ Actually, I think it would be standard practice for some starfleets (not neccesarily the Federation) to intentionally decompress their ships on entering combat and have the crew perform the entire operation in space suits. It occurs to me that a ship full of atmosphere and combustible materials is probably an enormous fire hazard and it's just safer to avoid the whole "exploding consoles" thing if there's no air in there to begin with. Shutting down artificial gravity would seem to be a safe bet too; no more bridge officers getting crushed by falling pillars.

    A bit of a tangent, but since we're on the subject of a distant-future trek reboot, I would probably take a cue from Mass Effect and simplify all technology so that it's in some way related to subspace field/mass reducing technology. IOW, phasers would really just be weaponized deflector beams: you have a setting that can repel the target (or a portion of the target) at a hundred gs, or a more gentle 10Gs if you just want to punch him out and not neccesarily kill him, or a "disruptor" setting that switches back and forth between repulsion and attraction a hundred times a second, literally rattling your target with intense hundred-g vibrations. Some more vicious versions of the phaser might cause the object to accelerate at high speed away or towards the center of the beam, alternately exploding or imploding your target. Photon torpedoes would be similar: effectively, disembodied warp nacelles with their own engines and fuel supply that chase down their targets and slam into them at high warp.

    No shields, not really, but deflectors would actually be part of the warp drive and would involve using a repulsive warp field to propel incoming energy/objects away from the ship at high speed. The main deflector would have a much longer range, and a starship could actually defend itself by turning its bow towards an approaching torpedo or ship and turning on its deflector, forcing the aggressor to keep its distance.
  5. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

    Feb 9, 2005
    Keep the suits, leave the atmosphere. That way, if a console explodes and punctures the suit, the crew member isn't totally screwed, but they are prepared if the environmental systems go offline, or the hull is breached in their area.

    The way consoles explode, I don't think combustion with air has much to do with it. The fires afterwards, sure, but explosive consoles gonna 'splode, air or no. Really, extreme-environment suits, like Spock's in the new movie, would be the best protection.

    How often does it happen that things just fall and hit folks? Usually it's stuff that exploded. Without gravity, it's going to fly across the bridge, hitting lots of people while ricocheting off walls and stuff.
  6. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom
    Exploding consoles is more thermal damage than shrapnel, more often than not. More importantly, even 21st century space suits and are reinforced against micrometeoroid impacts and are effectively a form of low-grade body armor anyway. A 23rd/24th century space suit could be expected to have its own SIF or even forcefield protection for the same reason.

    How often does it happen that things just fall and hit folks? Usually it's stuff that exploded. Without gravity, it's going to fly across the bridge, hitting lots of people while ricocheting off walls and stuff.[/QUOTE]
    Interestingly, a tumbling object in zero gravity only has so much momentum regardless of its mass; a grand piano tumbling through an open space in zero gravity packs a wallop, but a lot less than a ROLLING piano in the same space, which is accelerating at a constant rate instead of simply moving from a single brief impulse.

    It's a tradeoff either way, but reducing the ship to vacuum conditions reduces the environmental hazards to that which could be found in open space itself, and those are somewhat easier to deal with if you have the right technology.
  7. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

    Feb 9, 2005
    The piano (or whatever) would only be accelerating due to gravity if it were going downhill in a sufficiently steep manner. Don't think there are many hills in a starship. Gravity only accelerates in one direction: down. Unless the redshirt is terribly unlucky (something that cannot be discounted), "down" is not the direction that causes issues. Also, the ground makes a whole lot more friction than air (or vacuum!)
  8. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom
    Tell that to Joachim.

    Any object shaken loose from the ceiling of the bridge (or the cargo bay or the engine room) will probably accelerate away from the wall at one or two meters per second tops, depending on what sort of force dislodged it in the first place. A FALLING object will hit the ground at five or six times that speed and, depending on its mass, will flatten whoever it lands on since the downward force is constant.

    The same object tumbling through the bridge could be deflected with one hand and, if necessary, secured to the floor with a single strip of duct tape until it can be disposed of.

    And zero gravity accelerates in NO direction, ever. That simply means that unless the ship suffers the total failure of its inertial dampeners (in which case your crew is screwed with or without gravity) the ship isn't going to move much unless something hits it. Thus you're able to prevent falling injuries, crushing injuries, and other shenanigans that goes on whenever the ship is hit by something.

    Which is part of the problem, you see, as nine times out of ten the GROUND is the thing those redshirts are crashing into when the ship gets hit. When your unlucky tactical officer gets blown into the air from an exploding console, he isn't going to get a concussion or a broken arm from flipping over the railing and landing on his head. He might actually CATCH the railing and climb back into what's left of his console (which, thanks to the lack of oxygen, is no longer on fire).
  9. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

    Feb 9, 2005
    Neither gravity nor momentum work that way. For one, if a thing is weightless, that doesn't mean it's massless. It is just as hard to stop a heavy object from moving (or changing its direction, or slow it down) whether there is gravity or not - this is inertia. With gravity, you have a constant force (hopefully) which gets stronger the more mass the object has, so there is more force to change it's direction/speed, and it would keep whatever on the floor; this is only a problem when you have to pick it back up, as you not only have the inertia of the object, but the force of gravity (and, as we are on a star ship with artificial gravity, we can just modify it locally and take care of that). Without gravity, the stuff (boxes, columns, redshirts) just flies through the air/vacuum, hitting whatever gets in its way until all it runs out of momentum (which is only taken away by hitting things). Here is a picture to illustrate:

    On the bridge there shouldn't be anything that just falls; it can only be loosened by an explosion of some sort, and in the vast majority of cases would squish whoever was under it anyways.

    Without air, however, there wouldn't be shock waves caused by exploding consoles (just electrical/plasma issues), so any of the above would be moot.
  10. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    I said out, dammit!
    Oh that is hysterical. :lol:
  11. cgervasi

    cgervasi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 10, 2006
    Madison, WI
    No Exploding Consoles

    Once the shields and hull were penetrated, whole rooms of the ship would be destroyed at once. It doesn't make sense that exploding consoles from a hit kills someone at one console without hurting the person next to him. It wouldn't be as dramatic, but a hit would either destroy the bridge or not. I would not kill the navigator and leave everyone else unscathed.
  12. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 16, 2001
    NE Ohio
    Re: No Exploding Consoles

    I would think it was take many many hits to get through the bridge.
    As far as consoles full of plasma blowing up in your face. I'd say thats believable. Think about it like this. During a thunder storm you take a near hit from lighting. Is everything in your house destroyed? Not likely not. Just a few things. Same thing.
    Lets say the starboard power coupling gets hit. (it's made of glass) Depending on whats going through it at the time depends on what hapless redshirt is killed.

    See, super easy StarTrek Logic. ;)
  13. jpch

    jpch Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 22, 2011
    Delta Quadrant Borg Queen appartement 8472
  14. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 29, 2012
    My fanwank for why Excalibur lost its entire crew without the ship going kablooey in "The Ultimate Computer" was that M5 got a lucky hit on life support. (always a danger in one of the two board games I played. Maybe the ones with the cutouts and string.) Or intertial dampeners went offline and they turned to jelly.

    Related to the spirit of this thread, anyone notice that early in TNGs run...they seem to imply that weapons have far outstripped shield capabilities? See: The Defector

    "You still will not survive our attack"
    "and you will not survive ours"

    Seems like there were a couple of others I'm not remembering that seemed to imply that starships can only survive a couple of volleys.
  15. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom
    Of all the technobabble plot holes that pop up in Star Trek over the years, this is the one that irritates me the most. I would explain why, but I found a dialog a few years ago that does this nicely.

    DATA: Captain, we've just lost life support.
    PICARD: Oh? Did Doctor Crusher have someone in the ICU?
    DATA: No, Sir, I mean the life support system for the entire ship.
    PICARD: The entire ship?
    DATA: Yes sir.
    PICARD: You mean that this giant space ship that has 42 decks and is half a mile long has exactly ONE self-contained life support system for all one thousand people on board, and that that life support system has now failed?
    DATA: Affirmative.
    PICARD: How could that happen?
    DATA: Apparently that one system is very big and complicated, because we sometimes draw power away from it to boost our shields and weapons.
    PICARD: But why? What it does it actually do?
    DATA: It keeps us alive, Sir.
    PICARD: How?
    DATA: I assume the same way as a life support system in the intensive care unit at the hospital.
    PICARD: You mean it breathes for us and regulates our blood flow, keeping us alive artificially?
    DATA: Yes, Sir. It evidently does this for every man woman and child on board the ship, which is why we all begin to pass out and die within five minutes if it is ever deactivated.
    PICARD: That's absurd!
    DATA: No, Sir. That's plot device.
  16. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

    May 8, 2003
    The Red Church of Niah
    Hee hee... :lol:
  17. webb3201

    webb3201 Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 4, 2001
    Dallas, TX

    Agreed. Weber does the battle very convincingly.
    If only he wouldn't babble on about fictional politics for chapters on end... :)[/QUOTE]

    Here Here!
  18. YARN

    YARN Fleet Captain

    Aug 8, 2010
    The Enterprise floating in space. Gleaming, majestic, a pale arrangement of saucers and cones drifting against a sheet of stars.

    A Klingon vessel approaches...

    The Real Battle

    Warp factor 7 Mr. Sulu!

    The Enterprise does not respond, because in reality there is no such thing as warp speed or warp engines.

    She's not responding, Sir.

    Impulse power, full reverse!

    There is no such thing as impulse drive either.

    Raise shields!

    There are no shields.


    There are no phasers.

    Give me ship-to-ship, we'll tell them that we're meeting them in trust and friendship, but are prepared to act if they take hostile action.

    No response from the Klingon-ship (in reality, there are no Klingons, although we could build a Klingon shaped ship, if we wished).

    Spock! What's happening?

    Captain, I suspect that we've entered an increasingly realistic universe. We will be without artificial gravity, subspace communication, and sensors in a few moments.

    The crew begins floating. There is no such thing as artificial gravity in a realistic spaceship unless it uses acceleration or rotation. There are no gravity floor plates.

    Captain, if we do not return to our universe we will die.

    Sulu, take us back to our universe, now!

    We don't have power Captain!

    Don't give me that. Engage the imagination drive. It exists because I said so! What? You never thought it was curious that you could plot out complex courses in space by just hitting a few buttons? We are imaginary people! Use your imagination dammit!

    Sulu floats to his console. Randomly hits a few buttons and turns a knob. The crew descend (with wires connected to the braces holding them up slightly visible) awkwardly back to the floor.

    We have returned to imaginary space, Captain. Everything appears to be returning to normal.

    Get us out here warp 15!

    Warp 15?

    Use your imagination! Let's go!

  19. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Feb 26, 2010
    "Half the Battle" by Harry Turtledove ;)