How difficult SHOULD it be to steal a starship?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Angry Fanboy, Dec 29, 2020.

  1. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I mean it certainly can be a writing issue. I guess there are just differently levels for me. I mean even if it is a writing issue that doesn't automatically mean that I want to string up the writers or treat it as less than entertaining. My standards are kind of weird like that. I don't mind Deus Ex Machinas, convenient forgetfulness has been part of Trek for a while, and incompetent bad guys pretty much reminds me of real life.

    Mileage will vary. Would I love Trek to something like you describe, with the 24-esque back and forth? Yeah, that would be more interesting to me. But Star Trek isn't just for me.
     
  2. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    24 based yarn would work
     
  3. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    Capturing a ship without ship to ship combat first softening a ship should be highly unlikely but not impossible. The primary problem I have with the Emerald Chain taking Discovery is not that they succeed, but how we see none of the work required to bypass Discovery's defense. Worse, based on what we see Discovery has fewer defenses than any ship or station in the TNG period, and the only explanation we get afterward amounts to "Tilly sucks." While every defense and offense has a possible counter, we get neither.

    First, and most obvious are shields. Even weakened shields can block transporters, and there is no indication that Discovery's shields were down after decloaking. Yes, there could have been a period of shields down after decloaking, but we get no hint, implication, statement, nor display of that. It stands to reason that future systems would lack that weakness given the Scimitar has multiple layers of shields while cloaked, thus no cloak induced shield drop weakness. Rare technologies of the past become common down the line.

    Peer shield and transporter technologies work against each other as intended unless we get an explicit exploit or vast technological disparity. Despite the Chain being stated as more advanced than the Federation there is no indication of this being a vast advantage, such as between Borg and everyone else, or Voth and everyone else. For the most part, the Chain is setup as a peer of the Federation given how neither wants a war with the other. If the Chain had been shown researching or exploiting a design weakness that would be a different matter, but we don't get that build up to explain the ease of intrusion.

    Second, lets assume the Chain bypasses the shields, next they must safely enter the hull, which can be done either by piercing the hull or beaming. Hull piercing should be extremely difficult with programmable matter, because it should be able to reconfigure to push intrusions back out, or even anticipate intrusion and reinforce in response. Constant attack might be able to counter adaption, or perhaps creation of an intrusion conduit using one's own programmable matter. Except that might not be needed, Discovery has a glaring hull weakness, they never close their shuttle bay. Then there are transporters.

    Transporters have had purpose built counters since TNG, they are never used on ships in that period, but nothing we know of was stopping them. Further, the Chain does use such a system on Discovery once it is taken, but this blocks all beaming for everyone including themselves. With the technology being so old there is no reason Discovery should have lacked non-shield transporter countermeasures. At the very least it should have had internal shielding layers to stop unwelcome beaming. Given how one can beam through one's own shields, there is no reason to lack internal shielding with differing beaming clearances, which would allow friendlies to beam at will, but stop unidentified beaming. I would go so far as to say there should be no reason they lack general anti-transporter fields which are coded and can allow only friendly signatures.

    Bypassing this would be simple, have it so Book's device is secretly a backdoor to any system it is connected too. Have it that he isn't as smart as he thinks and inadvertently sabotages the ship. The device then transmits in real time the security frequencies or codes to let intruders in safely. Worse case, it isn't just passive intrusion like Geordi's hacked VISOR, it allows alteration of systems.

    The enemy has successfully entered the ship, so third is internal defenses. Internal shields have existed since TNG, and they can be erected not only at specific places but anywhere desired for instant confinement. Bypassing them would require battering them down, or having personal shields frequency matched to the internal defenses, or transphasic personal cloaking. As near peers, if the Chain has phase cloaking, the Federation should have an anti-phase cloak, like the method for re phasing in "The Next Phase" or "Times Arrow."

    Transporters can be used to send intruders to confinement and strip them of power for their devices, or strip them of devices directly. The defense for that is personal shields or transporter inhibitors to foil lock-on.

    One of the hardest defenses to defeat would be physical ejection from the ship, by way of the ship using the programmable matter hull to reconfigure around intruders and send them into vacuum. One would have to avoid getting near the hull and have a vacuum rated suit. Beaming back in might be the only defense, but if the ship has active beam scramblers that might be a deadly bet. In the worst case scenario, all beaming could be blocked by scramblers, not even allowing friendly beaming.

    Deck gravity can be increased to deadly or disabling levels. This can be countered with personal gravity systems, but a portable system will have lower duration than that of a ship system.

    Holographics and programmable matter could reconfigure corridors into mazes and kill zones. Weapons and soldiers could be made on the fly. Even worse for intruders would be holographically flooding corridors with avalanches or instantaneous solid rock. Robust anti-holographics would be required, and as well as anti-programmable matter programmable matter to counter physical versions of the same defenses. As seen with Su'kal's holodeck, holodecks can remake people on a physical and chemical level and read minds, so simply turning a person into something helpless and reading their plans from their minds requires specialized defenses. This should also mean people can holographically enhance themselves through personal systems.

    If the universal translator and holodecks read minds, and a psychic signal was artificially enhanced, it stands to reasons psychic weapons could exist in the 32nd century.

    Fourth is the Sphere Data. It was shown as defending itself from attack, so a special effort must be shown in circumventing it and its enhanced defenses. While surprise and speed can explain an initial invasion, the final steps must show a major effort quickly hacking the Sphere Data's defenses away. This could be explained with the Chain having an overwhelming programming advantage over the Federation, as well as its backdoor intrusion, but it must be explained. It cannot simply be assumed, given how critical the Sphere Data self defense is to the story of season 2 and the existence of season 3.

    Alternatively, have the chain beam explosives to key systems as they send personnel. Destroy the Sphere Data at the source, unintentionally. They then use programmable matter to rebuild the computer core, and the Sphere Data survives because it happened to have data in independent units, such as the DOT's.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2021
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yet it does boil down to the fact that Tilly sucks. As does everybody else aboard. After all, they are untrained fossils every single one of them, having been taught how to defend against antiquated 23rd century attacks.

    It's rather likely that So'Kal's little fit disrupted multiple systems aboard the ship. In the 23rd century,

    1) the heroes would have known which systems went down and how they should be repaired, and in which order. In the 32nd, they have no idea, or worse still, all the wrong ideas.

    2) there would have been more time to do all this, because the opponent didn't have insta-repair capabilites and programmable matter and stuff. In the 32nd, the heroes have no experience whatsoever on how quickly an opponent should recover.

    3) there would have been less hurry overall, because arranging for a transporter assault would take time. In the 32nd, all a transporter assault requires is saying "Go!" to everybody.

    4) there would have been a certain pattern by which the enemy would take over a ship. In the 32nd, everything would happen simultaneously, with every location broached immediately.

    5) there would have been a certain pattern by which Security would secure the ship. In the 32nd, they should just immediately materialize where they were needed.

    Doing it right takes training. Unseen speed-learning techniques aside (these folks can't even make proper use of holodecks yet!), Tilly's team wouldn't have any.

    That's how it would work in the periods of history we have already witnessed, too. A 1st century naval team might be capable of opposing an 8th century boarding, but not a 15th century one, not even (and especially!) when given weapons appropriate to the threat period. And a 20th century crack team would die in the hands of 8th century boarders if having to make do with 8th century weapons.

    It's only logical that the only way our heroes could hope to win would be the Starfleet one of figuring out how to tie the enemy shoelaces together. And in this specific context, it would be natural for the enemy not to be prepared against that one, because the 32nd century Starfleet apparently sucks at that.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I seem to recall watching a scene that shields were impacted by Su'Kail's shockwave and destabilized the core.
     
  6. tesral

    tesral Commander Red Shirt

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    As difficult as Plot.

    Dramatic Sensor
    The "sensor" that weakens the shields, or lessens the effect of the weapons, or makes the ordinarily stable technology flaky on the PC ship whenever the writer feels a sense of heightened drama is required. The use of false danger to heighten the dramatic moment or attempt to create dramatic tension where none would normally exist.


    It should be near impossible. It never is.
     
  7. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    That’s why I can’t specifically blame her despite authorial insistence blaming her. None of the crew do any better than her when presented with opportunities to make recommendations.

    No one points out the obviously fake Starfleet vessel is probably fake. No one suggests sporing away to Starfleet command to safely rebuild the shields, then return straight to the dilithium planet. No one suggests warping away while cloaked to gain distance, then spore away. Basically all the obvious things which require no new context.
    The cloaking device explicitly drops due to the mini Burn, but I recall no mention of shields.
     
  8. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Rewatching shields were at 45% after the shockwave hit, and Stamets was shifting power due to the core destabilization.
     
  9. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    But no power loss, he manages to keep the ship from exploding, and the shields aren’t any weaker than before.
     
  10. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think even a small disruption would be enough.
     
  11. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    I would be okay with that if it were explicit, but without a comment I would lean to no shield disruption. We’ve seen systems knocked out and power surges and the like, and shields tend to stay up unless specifically messed with by an event, unless I’m miss remembering.

    I will say, a point in favor of the shields being down is how the cloak stays down instead of flickering off. But how much of that has to do with a cloak being it’s own thing versus an indication of all systems being temporarily down?

    I still contend they should have had lots of fail safes against shield failure since it should represent instant death in a fight in that time period where beaming through one’s own shields should be trivial. The moment any shield arc is down should be the end of a fight.
     
  12. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And this is were tech yields to drama.
     
    tesral and Nerys Myk like this.
  13. tesral

    tesral Commander Red Shirt

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    The Dramatic Sensor: The "sensor" that weakens the shields, or lessens the effect of the weapons, or makes the ordinarily stable technology flaky on the PC ship whenever the writer feels a sense of heightened drama is required. The use of false danger to heighten the dramatic moment or attempt to create dramatic tension where none would normally exist.

    I design boring ships with fail safes and redundancies.
     
  14. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I would too. That's why I'm not a professional writer. I overthink everything.
     
  15. tesral

    tesral Commander Red Shirt

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    I was a machinist by trade. I think in terms of fail safes and processes. So I build drama with people, not failing technology.

    Garry's Rules for Trek Plots is a list and explanation for why I write what I write. Mainly it is why I don't use flaky technology for drama. It's a touch long to post.
     
  16. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Try thinking of a modern warship or carrier.Think of the sheer physical difficulties.
    Would any threat force even consider trying to take one?
     
  17. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    One of those reminds me of a pre STO comic where an officer encounters a fetch mission. “Cross the Burning Sea and clim Mt Death to collect-“
    “Right, gotcha.” Ensign Smoe beams out and back, handing the old man a fist size red gem. “Here you go.”
    The ship has to be in a friendly port with defenses down. Maybe with them giving civilian tours like Fleet Week. And they would need a concerted effort from inside and out with the element of surprise.

    Even then, using a ship to batter the defenses down and beaming in explosives to key systems, then robot boarders, then people might make more sense.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    With just 88 people aboard? The boarders wouldn't even notice any resistance. (Not even when some of the defenders insist on being plural.)

    And the DIscovery is bigger while fewer of her crew are any good in combat.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's a good read and I appreciate his perspective. But, I also am familiar enough with drama, past and present, works with dramatic conveniences. At least in my experience.

    If Starfleet was a real organization I would expect the strictest protocols much like the airline industry and military organizations. But, what has been presented reminds me of shows like JAG, where such protocols are subverted fro drama.

    But, your post is very interesting.
     
  20. tesral

    tesral Commander Red Shirt

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    Shows like JAG make me want to punch the TV.