General Trek Questions and Observations

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by The Old Mixer, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

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    That's one of my biggest pet peeves with Star Trek.

    There is literally no up or down in space but a full 3 dimensional world where any axis could be viewed as up and down but they always do that thing with ships always appearing oriented the same way. It's annoying as all hell.
     
  2. matthunter

    matthunter Vice Admiral Admiral

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    TNG Tech Manual tried to handwave this with something about the alignment of subspace fields or some bollocks.

    But "always level with each other"? CoughWrathOfKhanCough.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I really don't get this one. It's like saying that it's absolutely unrealistic for two gunslingers in the West to face each other when both of them have full 360 degrees to choose from.

    No, we don't need to claim that they are forced to face each other because of the geometry of the Main Street, or because the hero always comes from the west and the villain from the east. The orientation is inherent in the situation - it's something desired by both parties. Although the desire of just one party would suffice already.

    When two starships meet, what possible reason would they have for meeting in any other orientation than up-aligns-with-up? They are fully capable of choosing. And we see the act of choosing every now and then: Khan's Reliant makes a roll to match up with Kirk's Enterprise, or ships in DS9 bank and roll while approaching the assorted space stations. Generally, though, the VFX camera joins the action after the aligning is already done with.

    It's different when the ships meet without an intent to posture first. Likewise, one of 'em gunslingers might climb atop the saloon and shoot the other in the back from there. But starships generally meet in order to posture; if they had other aims, they would choose not to meet that way.

    (For a variant of this, witness two real-world spacecraft meeting. They, too, always orient "the same way", because the sole purpose of the meeting is to orient for docking or similar interaction. There sure as hell is an up and a down in space, even if it is brought there by us - and brought to be made use of!)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
  4. grendelsbayne

    grendelsbayne Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Realistically, why should they care if they're level with each other? The only position that should be 'desirable' is relative to the weapons systems (present the smallest possible target if enemies, or avoid the appearance of doing so if being diplomatic) or whatever position is necessary for docking (if that's desired), which usually wouldn't be level and facing each other.
     
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  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    These sorts of things don't bother me, because it's a TV show. Showing ships approaching each other at random orientations relative to each other wouldn't begin to fix all of the other things that are unrealistic. So why bother with this detail?

    It's far better to just get on with whatever is interesting about an episode. Take, for example, TNG "The Survivors" or "Darmok." Both are very interesting episodes that did not suffer from having ships facing off against each other with (apparently) comparable orientations. The same can be said of "The Pegasus," and for that matter TWOK.
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yet both sides would be juggling for the better position, making "level" very much the likeliest outcome in the figurative as well as literal sense...

    We see dockings handled appropriately when it comes to that: many ships in ENT dock at 90 degree angles in terms of floor geometry, and side by side rather than nose to nose is common, too. But docking is an uncommon goal when two ships meet. Posturing is by far the most common. And when you pitch and yaw to present your bow, not adding the roll would seem odd indeed.

    It's a somewhat separate issue that ship formations also tend to be arranged so that the ups are aligned. But that's far from being the biggest issue with those formations in Trek. To the uninitiated, these look like disorganized gaggles, with ships needlessly blocking the fields of fire of other ships. At least some degree of order there is a positive thing, then.

    On the other hand, we have real-world naval precedent of fighting ship formations that, again to the uninitiated, look like senseless parade maneuvers but in reality reflect the only technologically possible way to use the ships as a coherent fighting unit. It's just that we can get the "in reality" part ITRW by studying, while in Trek there's nothing to study, and we just have to pretend the fleets have their reasons.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. grendelsbayne

    grendelsbayne Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't agree with that. Sure, it won't fix other things that are wrong, but that doesn't make it not worth doing. I've seen other shows/movies do it, both as a focus and simply in the background, and it has always given the scenes an appreciable atmosphere of space that definitely enhanced the sequences.

    Not really. Two ships in relation to each other will always exist in a straight line of some sort, but that doesn't mean 'level' (they could as easily be presented in a straight vertical line or at a 90 degree angle), nor both in the same spatial orientation (rightside up), nor facing each other. Turning those things into a standard presentation is a visual choice made by the showrunners which is not at all a 'natural' result of the concept of ships meeting in space.

    And before anyone takes this the wrong way, I'm not saying I'm seriously bothered by the practice, nor that it's in any way seriously worse than various other things that have happened (even regularly happened) in the franchise. I just agree there's really no good reason why it should be the way it is shown to be and changing it would make for better visual storytelling in many cases (and wouldn't be necessary in every case, so you could keep the 'level' presentation in stories where you actually thought it best).
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Fair enough. But the two gunslingers thing still very much applies: what possible reason would there be for the two ships not to point their noses at each other when nose-first is how they are supposed to fight?

    It's quite akin to wondering why sailing warships should desire to position themselves side by side. Side to the enemy is the only way they can fight. Neither wants the enemy to be able to fight them back, so in battle, they'd try and "cross the T" on the enemy instead, but doing so would be a battle maneuver, meaning the only way to do a rendezvous of any other sort "on the level" would be to align side to side. The same applies to a starship with forward-facing weapons (the side phasers being about as significant to the argument as the possible chase guns on a sailing ship, that is, not really).

    Randomly oriented ships simply should not appear in the same film frame, because the motivation to stay randomly oriented would cease long before the ships reach this point-blank range. Indeed, showing ships at random orientation but close to each other would not just be a meaningless half-measure (starships being close to each other to begin with is the worse TV or movie conceit!) - it would go more against in-universe logic than the level orientation does.

    It might still look cool, of course. But "looking cool" is the reason ships meet on the level, too.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  9. grendelsbayne

    grendelsbayne Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The problem comes with the assumption that nose first is how they're 'supposed' to fight. The Galaxy class was capable of shooting in almost any direction with equal strength (except maybe close-in aft and below, since that would be firing through the engineering section). We've also seen plenty of other alien ships that made the nose-first assumption highly questionable. The Defiant and maybe a lot of the Klingon or Romulan ships, etc should always be facing the other ship, plenty of other ships probably would not need that orientation at all.

    And different orientations is not the same as random orientations. Lots of ships should have different orientations because they have wildly different designs that should logically result in different ideal orientations.

    ETA: And also, of course, that every ship should automatically want to orient itself according to combat protocols. Many ships may be pacifist or extremely culturally inclined to make no aggressive gesture (including pointing your weapons at another ship) without provocation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
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  10. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Borg.

    Federation ships may try to orientate themselves towards a good looking cube face, but no cube face is consistently more important than any other cube face.

    Oh, and Borg Spheres.
     
  11. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

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    So Borg Spheres are not flat?

    They don't have flat sphere believers in their ranks do they? :D
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure what this is based on. All ships that fight in Trek do fight nose first, after all. And if prominent nose weapons such as torpedo tubes or disruptors are bow-mounted on the ships of all the major players, Feds, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, then why assume this would be untrue of other players, until those actually choose to fight not-nose-first?

    Yet there are only two orientation categories: those aligned with reference to the up-down layout of decks, and those not thus aligned. Any orientation falls in one of those, and of the former, it's difficult to think of a variant where X deliberately chooses to orient his decks differently from those of Y. (Except when pretending not to mind Y, that is - playing possum is a category of its own.)

    But it only takes one to tango. Kirk or Picard would always point his bow at the other guy as a matter of protocol (after all, he does!), a potential pacifist maneuver in itself, akin to exposing one's throat.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Gravity boots and other personal emergency gravitational fields kick in.
     
  14. jgf

    jgf Lieutenant Newbie

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    Not talking about facing each other.
    Those gunslingers are standing on the same ground, held there by gravity. You're not going to see one standing and one laying horizontally; nor one leaning at a 45deg angle and the other ten feet above him upside down at a 30deg angle. Though both positions would be equally feasible in a no gravity situation.

    The point being that you have full 3D movement in space, if five vessels are light years apart from each other what are the chances that any two, much less all five, are on the same plane and orientation (as five ships on an ocean hundreds of miles apart would be)? And if they all head for a common point they should arrive there in whatever orientation they were when leaving their departure point (the argument could be made that in transit they all agree to a common level and orientation, but there is no need for such, nor any indication this is ever done ...and I can see the arguments if a Federation ship, a Romulan ship, and a Ferengi ship were meeting, none would want to reorient to accommodate the others).
     
  15. jgf

    jgf Lieutenant Newbie

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    We have on one occasion seen gravity boots - large clunky devices. We never see these in the referenced "no power" situations. And there is, to my knowledge, no reference to "personal emergency gravitational fields" (PEGFs?) anywhere in ST, so not canon.
     
  16. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Still, it's what you can imagine they usually employed. Just because the boots are never said to be used doesn't mean they haven't incorporated it as a standard footwear feature. It's just never been mentioned because it didn't need to be.
     
  17. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Why is Discovery's saucer section spinning during spore jumps?
     
  18. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

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    It's only the top and bottom plates of the saucer, not the whole saucer. It's done to generate the displacement field of the spore drive.

    It also looks cool.
     
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  19. MAGolding

    MAGolding Captain Captain

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    The vast majority of Star Trek starships have artificial gravity and thus internal "up" and "down" oriented at right angles to the direction of movement, much like ships at sea. And I think that it is more rational to imagine.that the direction of realistic starships' generated gravity and internal "up" and "down" would be parallel to their direction of movement. Thus the arrangement of decks in a starship would resemble the arrangement of floors in a skyscraper instead of the arrangement of decks in a sea ship.

    So two realistic starships that meet each other are likely to have their "fronts" which are also their "tops" pointed at each other, and thus each starship will likely appear "overhead" to the people in the other starship.

    And if two goofy movie or tv starships which have decks arranged like the decks on sea ships instead of like the floors in skyscrapers meet in space, there is no reason for them to tilt until their decks are lined up parallel, unless they intend to actually dock, or possibly if someone is going to beam from one ship to the other.
     
  20. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    Orientation of a ship could be arbitrary, unless for navigation convenience, most races orient their ships to the galactic core, i.e. galactic up and down. Then when ships meet in open space, they will be similarly aligned. Going up and down would tilt the alignment, but there is generally still an up and down (unless directly above or below, then a random orientation may occur.) Easy-Peasy. :techman: