Lack of Redundancy and warp capable lifeboats in Trek

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by sciquest2525, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    It's not as if they were in any sort of a hurry, though. As far as can be told, they had assimilated nobody despite preceding the E-D to Earth orbit by what Wesley said would be fifteen minutes.

    That is, the Borg were stated to have stopped when there was only two minutes till intercept, meaning they should actually have been on Earth orbit for thirteen minutes already. The visuals don't quite contradict that. And we do see how the final confrontation takes place on Earth orbit. But no mention of any assimilation going on!

    Indeed, we probably have a completely wrong idea of what was going on in the first place. The heroes took Locutus' threats at face value, but we later learn the Borg lie a lot. We also now know what a real assimilation looks like, with swarms of Cubes. And we know people from Wolf 359 ended up in Delta. So we might add two things to the events that the writers originally never put there:

    1) The Borg assimilated a few ships at Wolf 359 and turned them into further Borg ships, which then traveled in various directions.
    2) The Borg were just tickling Earth, not assimilating it, much as in the VOY episode "Child's Play".

    Not particularly relevant to lifepods and surviving/rescue ships, though. But if the Borg were interested in lifepods, we'd probably have seen them do something about them when Sisko's launched. OTOH, if they were uninterested in ships, we'd have seen a ship left in peace. Neither of those happened.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. Matthew Raymond

    Matthew Raymond Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2016
    Actually, it's consistent with the "Borg Theory" people have been talking about on YouTube. The point of sending one ship is to give the Federation a bloody nose in order to stimulate technological advancement, not to actually assimilate the Federation. The Borg don't invent their own technology, they assimilate it from others, so it benefits them to push a race to continuously advance their technology so that they may then come in en masse with thousands of cubes later and assimilate the very technologies intended to fight them.

    As a result, destroying lots of ships benefits them, whereas destroying the escape pods does not, as you would want some small number of survivors to spread the word about how much of a threat the Borg are so that the Federation would create more advanced ships to combat the Borg.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Attacking Earth is certainly "Child's Play" and prompts Starfleet to invent all sorts of delicious assimilables, so that's a good, plausible explanation.

    But attacking Wolf 359 is only ever explainable through "Child's Play", because there's no alternate reason for attacking Wolf 359...

    Still, letting people in lifepods escape wouldn't be a major part in such a ploy. What could Ben Sisko possibly tell that would make Starfleet develop assimilable goodies for the Borg? Such benefits would come from telemetry tracks more probably than from survivors' stories.

    Are lifepods important carriers of combat telemetry, though? Kirk was always loading these "recorder marker" things with his last will and testament. Perhaps physical casings are vitally important for preserving the data? Perhaps this is at least the plausible rationale Locutus offers to the Collective for his seemingly traitorous suggestion of not attacking the lifepods?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Matthew Raymond

    Matthew Raymond Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2016
    It's not about having accurate information. Quite the opposite. You want survivors publicly telling their inaccurate, first-person stories of how Borg weapons passed through the shields like they didn't exist and ripped through the hull like it was tissue paper. Their stories don't need to be technically accurate; they need to be compelling. You want the survivors to spread fear, not tactical information. It's all about psychological warfare and politics.
     
  5. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    Republic of California
    One must remember that Wolf 359 wasn't the Borg attacking Starfleet, it was Starfleet attacking a Borg cube that was on its way to Earth. The Borg went the direct route and 40 or so Starships got in the way. Presumably the Borg don't just ram through ships at warp speed, so and there is precedent for forcing a ship out of warp to fight them. Thus Starfleet attacked, but the Borg still gave their usual speech at the start of it.

    As for surviving ships not going to the death....not everyone is suicidal. Not everyone is willing to die. And some are geared more to saving the other survivors rather than fruitlessly slam their starship against the cube's hull since the Borg tractor beam might stop such a tactic like the Enterprise stopped Stargazer.
     
  6. Samuel

    Samuel Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    If you're in a fleet of 40 ships and 39 are destroyed I can see a Starfleet captain and crew seeing no reason to continue fighting the Borg, especially if they have already suffered damage. Better to play dead and save the survivors if you can.

    And Starfleet doesn't execute its captains or crews for cowardice or anything like that. The only death penalty left on the books of Starfleet the last we know was going to Talos. And that was even suspended in Spocks case.

    Finally how do we know there wasn't a base or colony in the Wolf-359 system. Certain novels (I know, not canon) have suggested there was a major Earth colony there. Which makes sense give the stars proximity to the Sol system. At the very least a space station would likely be orbiting there somewhere.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    No need to presume - in ST:FC, the Borg Cube does ram through a Starfleet blockade and then continues on a course to Earth for at least hours and possibly days on high warp. So them stopping at Wolf 359 does appear like a choice they, rather than Starfleet, made.

    Mind you, the direct route wouldn't really go through Wolf 359, because space is big. And if it by amazing coincidence went through the putative Wolf 359 "system" (the star in reality is unlikely to have planets), it still wouldn't go through the blockade. We shouldn't get stuck with the idea that the battle had anything to do with the system; for all we know, it took place only a tad closer to that system than, say, to Sol and therefore got this name for lack of anything better.

    We also know that ramming doesn't work - indeed, the Melbourne in "Emissary" appears to be trying to sublight-ram, but miserably fails. But something else might work, so stealing your starship from Starfleet so that she cannot be used in the fight any more gets you killed by your superior afterwards, legal or not. Unless you're hoping the superior dies first, which is a realistic prospect here, I guess. Perhaps people who're fine with that are also fine with flying away from Earth?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    Republic of California
    Picking up survivors in your crippled starship is not stealing from Starfleet. That's doing one of your many duties in Starfleet. Rendering aid to ships in distress. Since your ship isn't viable against the Borg, you might as well be useful and save as many people as you can, take them to a starbase that is not in the direct line of threat and try to come up with a new plan. In the meantime, USS Enterprise is on the case.

    There are few naval battles with multiple ships on a side were all of them are sunk. There are almost always surviving ships that try to render aid to those crews from the doomed ships before they are also forced to leave the battle area due to the advancing enemy that they no longer have a reasonable chance at defeating. Real sailors do not sail dozens or hundreds of kilometers towards the enemy that has already defeated them to suicide charge said ships into the enemy. Most won't get within a kilometer before their ship is a blazing wreck and sinks anyway. Real sailors and solders know when it is time to fall back, and when it is time to die for king and country.

    A Starfleet vessel that has already sustained damage and had tried to pull off for repairs to get back into the fight, only to witness the Borg decimate most of the fleet while your engineers work, is going to realize that what they are trying isn't working. They might try to come up with something on the spot, or the ship's commanding officer will not have an inspired idea and instead come up with the conclusion that there is nothing they can realistically do to the Borg from their position, and instead do something they know they can do...rescue survivors. Logically, if you cannot defeat the Borg by yourself, the wiser course of action is to gather what survivors you can, fall back, and attempt to come up with a new plan to defeat the Borg from a position of strength or work out a way to gain an advantage. Because by that point in the battle, it is quite clear that Starfleet has no advantage left. Whatever new tactics they might have used, didn't do enough to the cube, and their older tactics did nothing due to Picard's knowledge.

    USS Enterprise would later attempt to rescue Picard, which turned out to be the only viable advantage Starfleet could gain. It is unclear if any other starship could have even exploited that advantage if and when captured.
     
    Samuel likes this.
  9. Samuel

    Samuel Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    It should be noted that the fleet effort at Wolf 359 MUST have been successful in damaging and/delaying the Borg cube somewhat. Because if they had failed to do so, the Enterprise would never have been able to catch up to the Borg and rescue Picard. Prior to Wolf-359 the Borg were maintaining Warp 9.6 a speed the Enterprise could only sustain for three more hours or so. And after the failed deflector pulse weapon attack Enterprise had a damaged warp core and couldn't go anywhere for several hours.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    ...We don't know if the Borg stopped to repair damage, or for other reasons. Stopping to construct new Borg ships appears plausible in hindsight - we have every reason to think new ships were constructed ("Regeneration" shows how it's done and multiple VOY eps show it is likely to have happened), and while we don't have a clear reason for why the Cube would have to remain there to oversee, we can readily devise one (they keep the assimilees there until the new ships are ready, say). But stopping to repair damage is certainly a possible reason, at least a partial one.

    I'm all for the "didn't work, let's regroup" thing. But the regrouping would happen at Earth, and in full communication with the E-D. There just isn't any falling back beyond Earth. Fleeing away from Earth doesn't mean surviving, it means dying/getting assimilated away from one's family when the only other options available are dying with them or being assimilated with them.

    It's not a case of Germans desperately trying to leave Germany when defeat to Russia is inevitable. It's a case of folks desperately trying to leave what remains of reality when reality is being crushed by the Borg.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Samuel

    Samuel Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    You do know I would hope that not all starship crews (or probably even most) are from Earth or even the Sol system.
    There are large human populations in the Rigel solar system and Centaurus and Deneva to name just a few.
     
  12. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    Republic of California
    For the Russian Army into Germany line of thought, this is a depleted panzer division falling back to Vienna rather than Berlin. Out of the direct path of the advancing army, yet not quite truly safe, but in a position to counter-attack once able.

    If the surviving ship(s) of Wolf 359 were some of those Picard used a year later....none would have been combat worthy for months even with one of those famed crackerjack Starfleet Engineers. if they best they can do is pickup survivors and limp to Alpha Centauri at Warp Four, they aren't going to be any use to USS Enterprise trying to chase down a Borg cube that can do Warp Nine plus. Especially if it takes them a few weeks to get anywhere. Even if it takes only a few days it would be too slow to help defend Earth. Best they can do is regroup and repair. And then hope they can find a way to setup a counter attack with other starships that are coming from farther away, along with whatever ships the Klingons are sending, and maybe even Romulan ships. Attempt to gain a new position of strength, because the fleet at Wolf 359 obviously didn't have a position of strength....just a position of annoyance enough to force the Borg to swat them down.
     
    oberth and Samuel like this.
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    The biggest problem with the "surviving ship" scenario, or even with the "rescue ship" one, is the radio silence. What possible reason would the supposed survivors have for not informing the E-D and Starfleet of the outcome of the battle? Even if for some odd reason warping out of the sensor range of the E-D still made the fleeing ship afraid of signaling her location, getting the news out would be much more important than protecting a paltry thousand lives or whatever.

    Indeed, it would be absolutely vital to tell Starfleet "We tried to ram them, too, but their tractor beams-" even if the message then truncates there because the Borg locate the survivors by tracing their signal and finish them off. But a "surviving ship" could also lay a buoy sending the vital news, or whatever.

    OTOH, if the survivors are in lifepods that are incapable of escaping from the vicinity of the Borg, then continuing radio silence is expected, and additional stealth measures would be welcome. Alternate means of delivering the vital tactical information would be missing, too.

    Naturally, the original intent of the writers was that there were zero survivors. This got amended no sooner than in "Emissary", as regards personnel. It never got amended as regards ships.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    Republic of California
    I seem to recall the Borg were still jamming transmissions in the system when Enterprise arrived and only found a faint trail to locate the cube even after however many hours the battle had been over.
     
    Samuel likes this.
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    It's speculated that Admiral Hanson's message to the E-D was interrupted by "Borg interference", although the more likely reason really is that the Borg just blew Hanson to bits.

    When the E-D reaches the battle site, there's no more talk of jamming. The shipwrecks can be scanned easily enough; supposedly, any scanning of lifesigns also refers to scanning of the ships. That this scanning comes out negative may be why there's no attempt at communications on the part of our E-D heroes.

    But that there's no attempt by survivors suggests the survivors lack the means or the will to communicate. And the will should only be lacking if the survivors lurk close to the Borg, which isn't the case as regards starships.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Matthew Raymond

    Matthew Raymond Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2016
    @Timo, there's only one way to close this Plot Hole: We must sacrifice the Nostalgia Critic!
     
  17. sciquest2525

    sciquest2525 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Location:
    Huntingdon, PA
    I come back to the lack of redundancy of Trek ships. This needs to be addressed by going to a two warp reactor system and stronger backup power supplies while you have a secondary control center such as auxiliary control or a complete second bridge as in the TOS Franz Joseph blueprints which I wish someone would reprint.
    Lifeboats need to have a minimal FTL capability to reach a nearby star in less than a year either through FTL capable impulse or low warp capable engines.
    They could also use hibernation capability to stretch supplies and some means of signaling Starfleet bases or ships in reasonable ranges.
    ST: Discovery had some very energetic lifeboats coming out of Shenzhou in episode two that might be used as a basis for FTL lifeboats.
    Another essential item missing in all STs is the lack of countermeasures like the ECM and IRCM and decoys available to ships and aircraft on earth present.
    This was something that has grown in navies and air forces since TOS was conceived and was neglected in TOS and all future Treks.
    Sensor jamming systems that cause some of the enemy fire to miss and decoys that create false targets for the enemy need to be retrofitted to the fleet.
    USN has Australia designed Nulka decoys that not only simulate a ship on radar but also move above the sea surface to simulate ship movement and further confuse the incoming antiship missiles or ASCMs.
    Starfleet needs equivalent SCM or sensor countermeasures including moving decoys.
    A hard kill countermeasure is needed against physical weapons such as torpedoes. This could be main or secondary phaser mounts or minitorpedoes.
    Today, the US Army has bought the Trophy active protection system for tanks from Israel that kills incoming antitank missiles shortly before impact.
    If tanks and smaller armored vehicles can defend against incoming threats, then shouldn't Trek correct this very large oversight?
     
  18. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    Republic of California
    Isn't that what the shields are for?
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Indeed, it comes down to hard math. If you divide your power between shields (S) and shoot-down type CIWS systems (C), what is the most efficient ratio of S/C? And the answer in Trek seems to be S/C=lazy eight. That is, any power fed to CIWS is utterly wasted and in fact decreases the survival odds of the ship.

    Which is sort of intuitively understandable. Phaser beam pew-pew CIWS can miss; shields score 100% hits on incoming stuff. And a phaser blast, once let loose of the ship, is on its own; a shield might be plugged into the ship's main powerplant all the time, being all the stronger for that.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Samuel

    Samuel Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    In regards to anti torpedo phaser based close in weapons systems the following occurs to me.

    Phaser power is limited. Directing the power allocated for phasers to a phaser based close in weapons system would inevitably draw power that the ships phasers also need for offensive purposes.
    And photon torpedoes are fully capable of damaging a starship if they simply detonate too close. This was mentioned onscreen in both "Q Who" and "The Nth Degree" in TNG. So using a close in weapons system against incoming torpedoes might be a waste of time.