Photonic Torpedoes... where'd they get them?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by Oddish, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. Oddish

    Oddish Fleet Captain Captain

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    For the first two seasons, Enterprise used spatial torpedoes as its matter weapon and phase cannons as its energy weapon. Then, for S3, it switched over to the same phaser/photon torpedoes weapon set that would persist until quantum torpedoes were introduced 220 years later.

    Problem is, there was no inkling that the Federation was developing or even had knowledge of photon torpedoes before then.

    The Vulcans might have had such technology, but given their adamant opposition to Archer's mission, it's unlikely that they would share it.

    The Klingons used them, but Archer and his people were the only ones with hands on experience with a Klingon ship. They had little opportunity to reverse engineer the weapons, especially given that they fired them all. And besides, there's no evidence that they were involved in the new armament's development.

    The Vissians use the technology, and they were willing to share information, but given that Trip caused the death of their cogenitor, it seems unlikely that they would upgrade Starfleet's arsenal.

    So... where'd Archer get photonic torpedoes?
     
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  2. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    My issue is not with their invention but with the execution. I just rewstched the scenes where we see them for the vrry first time and the casings are virtually identical (same prop) to what we see in TWoK and TNG. I can accept the fact the technology could be reverse engineered from minimal sources, the Japanese in WWII developed their version of a jet engine from a couple of photos . I do think if the photorp was to be introduced as a newly developed being deployed for the first time it should have looked very different in style but still incorporating design functions needed (aft thrusters, sensors and warhead access panels)
     
  3. Oddish

    Oddish Fleet Captain Captain

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    My problem is with Starfleet having the same weapons of BOTH types for 220 years. Would it really have killed the writers to stick with spatial torpedoes for the rest of the series?

    It's like our troops fighting in every conflict from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam with Brown Bess muskets, muzzle loading cannons, and cavalry sabers.
     
  4. Imaus

    Imaus Commander Red Shirt

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    I wish they just used lasers and spatial thermonuclear, or tri-cobalt, missiles. If they needed to be pew-pew-pew, use Pulsed Lasers. That's something we're already working on. It would had fit the canon and be aesthetically pleasing.

    I always got the impression Phasers and Photon Torpedoes were a sort of new thing in TOS's time - they were still using Laser Pistols and Cannons in The Cage; but were old-style. As the Kelvin had phasers, it was probably a invention from the 2200s onwards. [Lasers] Reliable things, but sort of like taking a colt revolver on for police work, maybe. Sure, it'll work, but there are scenarios and situations where a 1911A1 or Glock would serve you better.

    FASA and Starfleet Museum reinforced this but even without them; it helps make the world feel more vibrant and advancing, the thing TNG helped with. ENT should be a 100 years before TOS technologically and aesthetically, and there's nothing wrong with that, just how TNG is 100 years ahead of TOS technologically and aesthetically.
     
  5. Oddish

    Oddish Fleet Captain Captain

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    A 1911 is the closest thing to phasers that we have... it served in our military for about 100 years, 75 as our main sidearm and 25 as a special weapon for people who needed their sidearm to actually stop fights (in the early 1900's, we realized that round nosed 38/9mm bullets are crap in a gunfight, so we went to a 45. In the 1980's, we still knew that round nosed 38/9mm bullets are crap in a gunfight, but we went to a 9mm to conform with our NATO allies).
     
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  6. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    WORF: There were no phasers in the 22nd century.
     
  7. Oddish

    Oddish Fleet Captain Captain

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    Two possibilities...
    1. Dont remember what it's called. One of those things where they just rewrite canon and say "it was always this way".
    2. Phase cannons weren't really phasers, though they might have operated on similar principles.
     
  8. Imaus

    Imaus Commander Red Shirt

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    It could just be a phased array laser, which is something we're breaking through right now IRL. Phasers aren't lasers, they're handwavium particle cannons -Nadions?- like disruptors, so maybe phase cannons were phased optic-array lasers. But, for all intents and purposes, they, along with photonic torpedoes, were phasers and photon torpedoes.
     
  9. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes, I'm glad they called them "phase" and "photonic", so they're not quite the same XD
    Should've gotten quantic torpedoes in S4, and transphase torpedoes at the end ;)
     
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  10. Oddish

    Oddish Fleet Captain Captain

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    And the transwarp drive, the transwarp drive, the warp vortex drive, and the transwarp matrix drive.

    Retcon, that's the word I was looking for.
     
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  11. Imaus

    Imaus Commander Red Shirt

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    I think they do talk about the torpedoes using antimatter in ENT; which kicks a possible handwave I just thought up that the 'photonic' could had been some laser-hitting-atoms-or-nuclei thing, ala laser-induced fusion. *shrug*.
     
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  12. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

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    People who think round nose 9mm is crap in a gunfight never seem to volunteer to step in front of it at the range.

    9mm works just fine for turning human beings into garbage in most engagements. In any case, sidearms rarely see use in western doctrine combat. During WW2, the soviets are a special case as they did often use sidearms a great deal, but their pistol, apart from the awful and multitudinous Nagant revolver, tended to be the Tokarev, which had/has a fairly unique high speed flat trajectory round which can still pass through a great deal of modern body armor. Strangely enough, despite it's impressive features, even the former soviet blocks don't use Tokarev now, nor due the Chinese. The moved on to rapidly, surprise surprise, 9mm, though in this case the 9mm Makarov round, which is is slightly less powerful than 9mm Luger, but works better in the blowback action Makarov pistols, themselves a variant on the Walter PP/PPK series, also blowbacks, that were primarily in .32acp or .380 and yet somehow perfectly fine for the German military. (the Argentine Air force still, as far as I recall, issues Bersa .380s, that are essentially modernized Walter PPKs with a better designed dovetail IMO. Anyone who'se had slide bite from a ppk will understand).

    Oddly enough the rest of the world didn't develop a love affair over the 45 acp round. Police continued primarily use .38 revolvers, though some forces upgraded to .357, they still tended to use underpowered round led nose 38 ammo in them. Because they worked. Modern doctrines switched, people wanted bigger firepower and for awhile it law enforcement agencies switched to the .40, even as the military for the most part found 9mm was perfectly fine for its needs. Apart from MP's, sf and officers, its almost hard to justify the need for the side arm at all in the military now. It's more a traditional thing like a saber, not on its way out exactly but seemingly doomed to a niche role like the smg (not Sonequa Martin Green. she will never be niche :) ) is mostly for tank crews and sf. The lightweight carbine won that one.

    Generally speaking when the US Military hangs on to a weapon for a long time, it's not always because they made a great decision at the beginning. The Trapdoor Springfield was used for decades even though it was obsolete from day one. But it did what it was supposed to do, Custer's Last Stand and San Juan Hill Excepted.

    1911 was a phenomenal weapon in 1911, and mechanically is still very impressive. But it has problems inherent to its design. There are a lot of people who carry 1911 and insist carrying one condition 1 is perfectly safe. I wouldn't want to think a poor copy has nothing but a leather holster strap keeping a hammer from accidentally blowing someone's thigh artery into pudding. Anyway, I digress. It wasn't only about NATO conforming. It was a solid decision.


    back to the topic at hand: as for photonic torpedos, Section 31 was around, and the ECS might have been able to make a good sale on that technology. Earth might have had Vulcans minding their beezwax, but they weren't the only ones dealing with Earth.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  13. Oddish

    Oddish Fleet Captain Captain

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    I like your theory. Maybe Malcolm knew the guys who swiped the information.

    Regarding the 9, i have no doubt about the round's killing power. But a handgun is not a weapon for killing, it's a weapon for keeping you alive. If you shoot a man in the chest with 9 ball, he may expire from the wound, but he has a decent chance of taking you with him.

    I think the 45 is being used less by the military because they amended the Hague rule, and troops may now use hollowpoint ammo. The 9mm's a solid choice with those.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I doubt the Starfleet photon torpedo is related to the Klingon weapon in any practical manner. At the very most, the Starfleet weapon under development during "Sleeping Dogs" might have gotten its name from the Klingon databanks - a not uncommon occurrence in military history.

    Once developed, the torpedo casing might well have persisted for centuries, then. The 21-inch torpedo of today is a standard that basically only exists because international adoption originally was via a global supplier (or a globally plagiarized supplier, at any rate) - but there never was a point in giving up 21in, either. The competing 18½in, chiefly for aerial applications, went out with torpedo bombers, and the 400mm weapons of today are not competitors but a standard unto themselves, not quite the Starfleet microtorpedo but plausibly the Starfleet minitorpedo anyway.

    As for phasers, "Berlinghoff Rasmussen" was asking questions about "important progress in the past 200 years" for his criminal purposes. Those who answered never referred to inventions from the 2160s sharp, though: Riker babbled about the warp coil even though it was invented more than 200 years before, as was correct and intended, because it was the progress that mattered, not the invention. So Worf chiming in would probably do so on the same note: he'd describe the progress in phasers, in that it was progress that there were no phasers in the 22nd century until there were.

    Phasers, torpedoes, transporters... The point of ENT seemed to be that space exploration only becomes possible when a civilization attains certain threshold technologies. Warp five engine doesn't suffice if the ship propelled by it doesn't have phasers, torpedoes and shields for defense, as Archer went to demonstrate. Exploration doesn't happen unless one has transporters and universal translators. It's just that Earth was on a Vulcan leash and thus didn't rush out until having attained (nearly) all the threshold gadgets.

    It would have been a different story if Archer Sr. invented the engine before Earth had the other tools, and all the ships sent out thus perished without as much as half a season's worth of adventures between them. The galaxy is quite likely to be a swim-or-sink environment of that sort - just like Earth's own oceans, where, say, South American nations in the 19th century would become naval powers only by buying international-standard warships from Europe or the US, but would indeed get all the gadgets at once, needing to develop nothing in a rat race, and could factually challenge a European superpower one-on-one with their thoroughly modern and powerful vessels if need be.

    (But only one-on-one, since having a ship is different from having a navy; and only when the ships were modern, since buying a ship is different from maintaining and operating a ship. Earth seems to have crossed a threshold there, too, not letting its assets crumble to space-rust for lack of skill and training.)

    Unlike on Earth, though, there would be essentially zero progress being made internationally. And why would there be, when so many folks have been spacefaring for thousands of years? In the swim-or-sink galaxy, it's a synchronized swimming contest, and nobody will be left behind by the glacial changes in weapons tech. Just hop in, with your approved gear, see if you can survive your initial plunge and whether your splash attracts applause or sharks, and you're good to go.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. amp

    amp Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I believe that the photonic torpedoes were introduced as a cost-savings measure. Every time Braga wrote a script he would type in 'photon torpedoes' and the editor had to cross out the word photon and write-in 'spatial' above it. This used up a lot of ink. By changing over to photonic torpedoes, the editor could just add in the 'ic' with a caret (^) notation which allowed Paramount to cut their ballpoint pen expenditures by one-third.
     
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  16. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    ^Or for a more in-universe explanation.... they had that future database of Daniels, and knew that by the 24th century, they'd have 'photon torpedoes'. So their first attempt towards that (or copying what the Klingons had), which they knew wouldn't be as nearly as good, they dared to only name "photon- ic torpedoes".

    Later developments in the century would undoubtedly see the inception of 'deflection-ate shielding' , 'duotron-ish circuitry' and 'holo-like decks'.
     
  17. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    May have had help from other species, but they may have just learned the mechanics of what one is, which is a Matter-Antimatter warhead. So humans start thinking and make there own version, and over the centery's its updated with better containment, larger warhead, better trackiing etc.
    Not that I wanted it, I agree they should have stuck with the Spacial torpedo's, OR equiping it with the M/AM warhead instead of the spacial charge. Better would be some type of fusion warhead, or like some other scifi thing like Bomb Pumped Gamma Ray Laser. Or cobalt, or other type of warheads.
    as for Phase cannons, they already talk about particle density with the hand unit, so it is a Particle Beam weapon.
     
  18. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Captain Captain

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    And he’s right in a sense.

    He says they never had phasers in the 22nd century. He never said that they did not experiment with phasers.

    Considering the amount of growing integration of United Earth Starfleet and the MACOs, which culminated in them merging by the 2160 according to ST: Beyond, and the MACOs were not known to use phasers themselves, head canon says that Starfleet upgraded the phase pistols to be bolts instead of a particle stream, and starships evolved to photonic charges (sometimes considered phasers in TOS) and went back to spatial torpedoes, due to the atomic nature of the Romulan War.

    Granted, the battle between the BoP and the Earth vessels in “The Expanse”, and the battle at Quvat Colony in “Divergence” likely challenges that continuity in regards to Klingon's knowledge of Earth phasers. But I do not think the Klingon leadership ever made those battles known to the general public.

    This is another thing that is likely not accounted for. Section 31 likely would have seen acquiring such tech as a necessity to safeguard Earth. And ECS was doing all of the deep space exploring before the NX-01, so they likely struck a deal for that technology. As for why they never acquired a tractor beam or shields, those techs are probably too expensive to acquire at that time.
     
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  19. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Sgt Pepper Premium Member

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    What would give you that impression other than what we saw in the pilot?
    At the end of the day, call it a laser, a phaser or a phase pistol, it's ray gun. It shoot's an energy beam and stuff happens.
     
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  20. somebuddyx

    somebuddyx Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I just assumed they saw the photon torpedoes in "Sleeping Dogs" and one of the boffins back at Starfleet Area 51 said "Okay let's give that a go." I agree about their look but I can see it being a cost saving effort so they don't have to build a new prop, but you could rewrite that scene so you don't even need to see it. Or they could have just given the spatial torpedoes photonic warheads and maybe change the special effect a bit. In Stargate SG1 there was a lot of going back to tech that someone else had used and repurposing it for our own use, which I immensely loved, so seeing Trek's Earth do the same thing feels natural and normal.
     
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