Hypothetical Scenario: Are a Dozen Phasers Worth One Horse?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by The Wormhole, Aug 12, 2022.

  1. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Imagine it's the 13th century, a time traveler from the future is interfering in a war between two armies. This time traveler meets with one army, offers to provide them with a dozen 24th century model Type 2 phasers, specifically the ones from the TNG movies, later DS9 seasons and Voyager, to defeat their enemy. To demonstrate what a phaser is, the time traveler uses it to vaporize one of the army's horses, after which the whole dozen are offered to the army at no further charge or anything.

    Is this an acceptable trade? Do you think the cost of one horse is worth the acquisition of twelve phasers to a 13th century army? Or are they being cheated somehow? Would you accept this deal were you leading this army?

    Let the discussion begin.
     
  2. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, the horse is already gone, so I'm not sure what the alternative would be. If I try to capture this, ahem, guy of the future for killing one of my horses, he could just vapourise my soldiers, and me along with them.

    I suppose I could refuse out of belief that these devices are powered by some dark magic that mortals should not trifle with. Or I could consider it a necessay evil, thinking the ends justify the means. A dozen of these uncanny weapons could kill at least a dozen enemy horses, and potentially many more if they aren't one-use devices.

    Kor
     
  3. 1001001

    1001001 Do You Really Wanna Taste It? Moderator

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    “Is a song worth more than a chair? Depends on the song. Depends on the chair.”
    - Bono
     
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  4. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Garth of Algar Premium Member

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    Is the horse Mister Ed?
     
  5. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's not a trade at all. The time traveler killed the horse and then offered up stuff afterwards.

    This is such an oddly specific scenario, and one with a clear answer. (Duh, yes. Even one phaser would drastically alter the course of Earth history. It would do it now, let alone hundreds of years ago.) Are you planning something we should know about? ;)
     
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  6. LAFR

    LAFR Commander Red Shirt

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    Of course!
     
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  7. Oddish

    Oddish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the economy of war, it's a no brainer. A horse, properly ridden by a cavalaryman, can inflict a handful of enemy casualties. A single phaser, even without extra power cells, could inflict hundreds, more likely thousands. So even one phaser is a worthy trade.
     
  8. Takeru

    Takeru Space Police Commodore

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    What discussion? Of course 12 phasers are worth more than one horse, the time traveller already demonstrated what a phaser can do, the 13th century army would immediately recognize that those phasers will win them the war in 30 minutes, they're not stupid.
     
  9. at Quark's

    at Quark's Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think the reverse would be true also. One phaser is worth more than 12 horses, too. As in, a man armed with a phaser would effortlessly win a fight with 12 men mounted on horses, provided they were not already upon him and attacking from different sides simultaneously.

    Poor horses, though. (The humans on them at least had a choice to enter this battle or not.)
     
  10. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The horse is worth more. With no ability to recharge, the phasers won’t last as long as Old Paint.
     
  11. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You could kill more than a thousand men with one charge.
     
  12. at Quark's

    at Quark's Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    When do we ever see them run out of phaser charge? Perhaps it's happened once or twice but right now, I can't recall. So it seems you can get a lot of shots from them - certainly enough to win that one crucial battle and inflict devastating losses on your enemy he will need at least a decade to recover from. And if you press home the advantage, conquer him for good or at least for several generations. Unless perhaps you do stupid shit like putting it on the very highest setting.

    Though of course, ultimately they would run out
     
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  13. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Omega Glory. Also, we see everyone stocking up on extra power packs in The Siege of AR-558.
     
  14. at Quark's

    at Quark's Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thank you for the example.

    We have to keep in mind though the Omega glory phasers are about a century less advanced than the late TNG era phasers we're talking about here according to the opening post. They might have had a significantly lower capacity.

    As for the extra power packs distributed in AR-558, we don't know the precise situation. They had been stuck on that rock for five months. For all we know they had not been able to recharge in all that time and facing very frequent attacks (though I'll grant that's unlikely, too).
     
  15. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    They were distributing the power packs just before the battle during the episode's climax, which implies for some reason they believed each person was going to burn through three power packs during that battle.
     
  16. at Quark's

    at Quark's Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^I really would need to see the episode again (which I can't do right now), but why the implication they believed they might burn through three? do they give everyone two (or even three) of those spare power packs ?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2022
  17. Oddish

    Oddish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    We actually don't know how many joules of energy are consumed by phaser fire. We would need, really:
    * Juice consumed by a normal stun shot (Level 2)
    * Juice required for a reliably lethal shot (probably level 6 or 7 for an opponent in 13th century armor)
    * Juice required for a shot at full power (Level 16)
    * How much juice a power cell holds.

    That would give us the beginnings of how effective, tactically speaking, a phaser would be. We would also need figures on range, beam cohesion, and how long the cells could hold power.
     
  18. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yes
     
  19. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's been through the desert, so it doesn't have a name.