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

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

  1. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    TOS to me seemed to make the point that none of the fancy futuristic space gear was new to the heroes. They weren't bright-eyed astronauts venturing to the unknown in the untested, they were the bluecollar (okay, blackcollar) space exploiters whose grandfathers had already plied the spacelanes in ships not unlike the one at the focus.

    ENT in turn was explicit about quite a few things being new. But only a number of them, not all of them.

    + Phase pistols were new, at least to Archer; the whole concept of stun vs. kill seemed to be an all-new option
    - Phase rifles or starship phase guns were not all-new, at least not to the people entrusted with those; there just wasn't a need to have those broken out or installed at first, for the hasty ferry mission that Archer launched on, in advance of the proper launch
    + Using starships for exploration was new, at least for Starfleet; previous ships had apparently existed for fighting
    - Transporters were not new, but using them for personnel was
    - Hull polarizing or grapplers were not new; shields or tractor beams were known of, but not available

    Photon torpedoes are slightly ambiguous, but there's a suggestion they might be new:

    + The terminology was alien to our heroes, apparently including T'Pol (but she's fond of lies of omission).
    + No Starfleet or Vulcan asset was known to have used photon torpedoes before "The Expanse".
    + The capabilities of the weapon amazed and excited even Reed for a rare once, when put to use.

    On the other hand:

    - It should take a lot of time to design and implement this system, as it's clearly bulkier than the phase guns, more integrated to the ship's structure, and involves the volatile antimatter our heroes treat with respect and care.
    - None of the dialogue on them in "The Expanse" establishes them as "all-new", as opposed to "upcoming and anticipated and now finally here", FWIW.

    It would be fun to think Starfleet built the system by copying Klingon weapons, but I doubt Archer ever got more than the general idea out of the Raptor he saved/destroyed. Would it even be within his capabilities to steal the technical data from the computers?

    Amusingly, when the heroes first fire their new torps, Duras is all "Huh, what was that?" and his minion has to tell him "Antimatter warheads". That is, not "Photon torpedoes, Sir!"... A 1:1 copy of Klingon weapons thus seems more than a bit unlikely!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Captain Captain

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    You have to also remember the the Vissians were using photonic torpedoes too. But we are led to believe that relations between Earth and the Vissians are in jeopardy due to the death of Charles at the end of "Cogenitor". It would mean either Archer acquired the information from the Vissians before the left, or someone (either the Vulcans or the ECS) smoothed everything over with the VIssians offscreen and received the specs as a gesture of good faith.
     
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  3. Oddish

    Oddish Fleet Captain Captain

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    Maybe Malcolm got the specs from their weapons officer. They certainly seemed to hit it off... :luvlove:
     
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  4. USS Excelsior

    USS Excelsior Commodore Commodore

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    Maybe they also had quantomic torpedoes as well.
     
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  5. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Captain Captain

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    They had a warp core that was straight from the TNG era, so they likely had quantomic torpedoes

    Which begs a couple of questions: how big of a military power were the Vissians during the ENT era and when did they join the Federation then? Since the Federation doesn’t have (or at least use) quantum torpedoes until around the time of ST:FC. That’s a 220-year gap between then and ENT S2.
     
  6. Oddish

    Oddish Fleet Captain Captain

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    Given the Federation's policies, it's likely that they had to offer their cogenitor population better treatment. If the Federation doesn't permit caste based discrimination, it seems unlikely that they would condone near-slavery.
     
  7. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    But if you experiment with them, you 'have them', in my view. Even if only in a very primitive, experimental version. I would say with conviction that 'there were no automobiles in the 16th century', but not ' there were no automobiles in the 1890's', or whenever it was the first experimental vehicle we would call an automobile today, was created. In that case I would say 'there were no automobiles in practical use in the 1890's' or something like that, even if it were only an offhand or casual remark. But I might be a bit (too) scrupulous on such matters.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
  8. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Captain Captain

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    They’re still this neutral power that can hold its own against the Klingon and Romulan Empires if those empires ever attempted conquest of them. If the Vissians had quantomic torpedoes in the timespan between ENT and DS9/VOY, that it.

    Well, phase cannons on other Earth ships weren’t scratching the hull of a 22nd Klingon BoP. Phase cannons weren’t even doing any damage to the Kovalaan ship in “Silent Enemy” until they were overloaded.

    Phasers are more powerful and have more capabilities by default, considering that they are supposed to vaporize the target, both the starship and small arms variety. Phase cannons and phase pistols do not have those capabilities.

    Its comparable to the differences between a submarine in the 20th and 21st centuries (numerous capabilities) and a submersible vessel in the 17th and 18th century (limited capabilities).
     
  9. Oddish

    Oddish Fleet Captain Captain

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    I'm not saying they necessarily HAD to join the Federation. But, given their friendliness, fondness for exploration, and proximity to Earth, they were very likely going to be interested in joining. And it's also possible that in the early days of the Federation, the rules for joining were less stringent. So while I do think that the Vissians learned to treat their cogenitors more equally, it might have happened after they became Federation members.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Hmh? Duras was forced to flee with his tail between his legs when those ships opened up. Then again,

    , so Archer learned a dirty trick there and then, and could have relayed that back home so that every Earth ship with phase cannon could now start using the overload mode. Such as in "The Expanse"...

    Phasers generally don't vaporize or otherwise make-disappear anything, either - except sometimes in TOS. The death rays of ENT could be identical, then, the users simply never choosing to vaporize.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    I'm fairly certain the Vissians did not become full-fledged Federation members, at least not till the time of TNG. Had they done so, it would have implied they shared their technology, and in the 22nd century they had technology that even the 24th century Federation still doesn't come close to. Vissian 'stratopods' (some of them at least) are capable of descending into a star's photosphere. Late 24th century Federation is only potentially just learning how to build shields that can withstand a star's corona (TNG: Suspicions, although in fact it is a design of a Ferengi scientist, dr. Reyga).
     
  12. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Captain Captain

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    It’s a possibility to vaporize in both TOS & TNG, because those phasers have a higher setting. The phase pistol in Enterprise only have two. And the ship phasers in both TOS & TNG have rotating frequencies than are never on display in ENT.


    What if the Vissians had a trade agreement with the Federation by the 24th century, but never actually joined it?
     
  13. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    That's quite possible. They didn't seem very isolationistic, quite friendly overall, and on this short distance from Federation space it would be almost impossible to not come into contact every now and then. Or else we would have to assume that the Cogenitor incident really soured relations over for a long time, which I hope it didn't.
     
  14. Oddish

    Oddish Fleet Captain Captain

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    I think that once the Federation formed in earnest, the Vissians would have been interested in joining. Regarding the tech issue, I think that a stratopod might be easier to shield than a starship. A little like you can get a tiny little pod down to explore the Titanic, but a full sized submarine can only go down a couple thousand feet.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Of course, the photosphere of the typical star is much cooler than its corona or chromosphere. Perhaps the Vissians just dive in real fast, a trick that doesn't call for special hardware since we see flimsy Klingon BoPs buzz stars, too?

    Archer's sidearm may have had just two settings - but which one of those was "cut a log" and which one was "heat a rock"?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  16. Oddish

    Oddish Fleet Captain Captain

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    Most likely, Archer's sidearm had a set thermal energy output, in kilowatts (1 kW = 1000 J/sec). The Kill setting was enough to shear through wood or get a rock hot.
     
  17. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    From "Ye Olde Photonic Torpedoes Shoppe?"
     
  18. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    Cooler, but much, much denser too, which I think might (more than) offset the lower temperature in terms of aggregate heat transfer when in that environment.
     
  19. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Captain Captain

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    That suggests that phase pistols had such abilities.

    Another thing to consider is that plasma cannons are known to have streams, as well as bolts. The Nausicaans were using exactly that in “Fortunate Son” for their ships, so its not like the concept of plasma streams would have been foreign to the developers of such weapons on Earth. Plasma weaponry seemed to be commonplace on Earth, from farmers to freighters to Starfleet officers prior to "Broken Bow".

    Maybe the usage of the word "phase" is more related to intent. Its meant to encourage users to stun threats rather than kill them; disable ships instead of destroy them. And in the case of phase pistol, the ability to differentiate between a stun plasma stream and a more fatal plasma stream is seen as a rather big deal. Why though was never established. But a plasma weapon and a particle weapon are not the same.

    So, Worf is right.
     
  20. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd suggest mostly capability and flexiblity rather the intent, but it's an interesting idea.

    The simplest retcon for Worf's "there were no phasers" is that -- like any "obsessive fanboy" -- he's engaging in "exact-wordism". The full name for phasers is Phased Energy Rectification, whereas the 22nd C equivalents are phase-modulated energy weapons. The latter use phase modulators (still in use later as engineering tools) to produce/modulate the energy beam or pulse, whereas the former appears to refer to converting the raw energy from the power cell (probably similar to that of the phase weapons) into an exotic, charged particle (nadion) discharge capable of a wider range of effects than the earlier phase weapons.

    It's somewhat, though not entirely, like saying that "in the early 19th Century we didn't have (semi-)automatic rifles", rifles existed they just lacked some of the features that were developed later.