Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Mark_Nguyen, Sep 23, 2020.
Finally, something that makes TNG turbolift chats make sense!
As for the personal armor business, "simple" physical armor is right out, both because phasers are so powerful against all physical matter, and because a kinetic attack would still kill the wearer even if there was no dent in the armor.
But with inertia control combined with conventional armor, one might hope to survive a hit from an anti-materiel rifle today. And as the riot shields of ST5 demonstrate, Starfleet has that down pat. It's just that it supposedly doesn't help against phasers - and presumably won't solve the knife problem, either, for some mysterious but dramatically vital reason.
In defeating phasers, a forcefield might not be the best way to go. We have seen Starfleet forcefields in TAS, and they were impotent against the feeblest of raygun attacks; if it's a matter of power, it would be trivial to argue one needs a starship to generate enough.
But phasers are selective, as demonstrated every time a beam vaporizes a Klingon but not the starship corridor around him. Apparently, the effect doesn't easily jump from one type of matter to another - or create any sort of an effect in the wrong type of matter to begin with, as demonstrated by the phaserproof barrels and decorative paintings and whatnot. Possibly shields could do tricks with that ("finding the right frequency" seems to help with attacks at any rate). Or then donning medieval armor would suffice - a phaser set to steel would preserve the clothed knight inside just fine!
The bigger issue is that if you wear shields, you probably can't walk through a doorway or a copse of astro-trees... Even Borg-advanced shields are usually far from skintight.
One's body armor suit + shields were skin tight.
And that already sets some standards: one gets there when one is more advanced than the Borg!
Even when 7 of 9 was disconnected from the Collective, we have seen a signal from a partially assimilated USS Raven activate her nanoprobes and giving her Borg shields - which were skin-tight:
This was with majority of her borg armor removed (which was also skin tight - pretty much like One's).
Even Seska wore a subspace field emitter which DID create a bubble around her (so it wasn't skin tight), but we've seen in TNG that when Picard, Troi and LaForge beamed to the Enterprise-D when it was frozen in time, they all had skin-tight personal shields which protected them from the effects of temporal distortions.
Mind you, phasers ARE quite powerful, but there have been instances where they couldn't penetrate some types of materials and shields (at least not without adequate modifications)... and we've seen that personal shields DO exist dating back to the 24th century at least... problem is, the writers never use them for combat situations (Even though they SHOULD be used at all times - aka, part of SF uniform if you will).
I would like Discovery addressing all of these problems going forward and start using technology that it has PROPERLY and fit the story with it.
Well, we don't have examples of working Starfleet personal shields - what we actually have is examples of the opposite.
TAS shows that the personal forcefields there are transparent to all forms of attack, from stun phasers to fists.
TNG shows that an improvised shield stops a Wild West revolver bullet or perhaps two, but can't stop three, and there's no suggestion a different type of shield would do better. Phaserproof shields never get a mention, even though we know that personal shields exist as a concept (they are distributed in "Paradise Lost" for what in reality is riot control purposes, even if ostensibly in response to Dominion threat). So those personal shields apparently aren't of the phaserproof sort since Picard's or Sisko's team never gets any, and never yearns for any.
And the Borg have their personal shields in early TNG already (and of course retroactively long before that, but Starfleet might first have learned of them in "Q Who?") - but the heroes still don't have them at the end of VOY, suggesting it's pretty damn difficult to have them.
Would matters improve by the 32nd century? Well, transporters are a lot better. Phasers haven't demonstrated superiority yet, though. Vance's Starfleet doesn't have personal shields in evidence, but is he holding back? There might be surprises still...
So pretty conclusive that Borg drones did get upgraded to skintight shields in the early 2370s then? Well fancy that!
This might be a matter of a design preference of how much power a handheld weapon should produce. Even if a 32nd century hand phaser could produce a 23rd century Starship level phaser beam, that doesn't mean you want people carrying that around.
Nonsense. Who wouldn't want to be able to shoot Earth Spacedock out of the sky from the comfort of your own backyard with a dustbuster phaser? Fun for all the family.
Riker never blew up a building, but he claimed his gun packed the necessary oomph. I wonder if Starfleet scaled it down from the 24th century levels?
Actually we DO have an example of working SF personal shields.
Worf fashioned a crude one using a commbadge of all things in order to protect from bullets. The only reason it was unstable and failed quickly was because he used a commbadge (an item with a power source NOT designed to power a full fledged forcefield).
That and when you think about various instances crews used wrist-band technology which created a field around the wearer to repel subspace anomalies, etc... it IS a personal force-field... just intended for different functions.
DS9 even verbally mentioned personal shields - but we never actually SEE them in use in the battlefield (which is ludicrous - but that also goes in line with the writers negligence and the stupidity of episode AR-whatever in which even phasers stopped having wide-beams of course).
Canonically, the technology SF has in 23rd and 24th centuries DOES allow for it. The writers just don't use almost ANY of it.
They stick with the most basic implementation of technology (which they end up getting wrong too) and forget about everything else to unnecessarily cater to 'drama'.
As for 32nd century SF having personal force-fields... well, they should, but we hadn't SEEN any in use just yet - and if they continue as they have until now, then we will never see them (along with most other things that should be common place in this era despite the Burn).
Personal shields should have happened a lot sooner than they did. That they didn't means something probably inhibits wide scale use.
TAS had force field spacesuits
DS9 referenced personal shields for SF officers - which suggests wide scale adoption and use - and as I said, we've seen the crews using wrist-band technology for projecting fields for protection (aka shields).
So the problem isn't in wide scale use... because these things are commonly used depending if the mission requires it... the writers on the other hand forget about most of this stuff or just plain don't care.
It did, but is TAS considered 'canon'?
Today, it is. It's been on and off over the years, but the most recent attitude is that it's canon.
That's simply among the pieces of evidence not admissible in court, because it adds nothing to the question of whether Starfleet has phaserproof shields.
It has had bulletproof shields since ST5:TFF at least, but nobody uses bullets in combat. Starfleet in turn never uses personal forcefields in combat, presumably because the actual threats don't warrant such.
Yup, another irrelevant piece there as it has nothing to do with combat shielding. Basically, it's the futuristic equivalent of the radiation suits made today - of paper. Or perhaps a futuristic plastic raincoat, which is what the TAS belts primarily served as, too, even if there was also a supply of fresh air in the belt.
Well, that hinges on the concept of battlefield. We never see those, for budgetary reasons. But when we do hear of them, one buzzword is "corpses". As in, phasers stop vaporizing when Starfleet goes to war. Which probably again is for budgetary reasons, but this time in-universe: vaporizing is a mercy shot that consumes a lot of power, and people low on power can't afford those. See e.g. the AR-558 bunch checking their guns' apparent power packs before the fight, something the heroes basically never have to do otherwise.
There we run into this "if it's possible, why didn't Charlemagne have it already?" question. I mean, Charlemagne hadn't met a Tesla vendor. But if those lived two castles over, and the power grid was not 500 yards away, Charlemagne very much would have driven a Tesla. That's the reality the Trek folks live in: somebody a thousand years more advanced than them is always around. And yet personal forcefields of combat strength aren't a thing, and warp drives better than dilithium-based ones aren't a thing. Although holograms, androids, antigravity, transporters and potent raygun sidearms are a thing everywhere, suggesting either that they are extremely easy to invent, or then (and IMHO more plausibly) that this sort of tech gets around, and is always at the level of the smartest folks in the neighborhood, even for upstarts like Archer or Shran.
Why would tech in the 32nd century be better than tech in the 22nd? The only thing that really would change is the reach of UFP shopping sprees: better warp drives allow access to a wider variety of clever elder species. And indeed ENT nicely shows that little or nothing changes between Earth's first contact with the Galactic Mall and Kirk's or Picard's days, techwise...
DS9 showed a combat uniform that seemed to be much thicker
Possibly for bumps and bruises (and I guess ballistic protection) more than actual proof against energy weapons. They were seen in combat versus Jem'Hadar and Klingons, both of which are known users of bladed weapons on the regular, so it wouldn't surprise me that the troops in theatre would have more of these around than the average starship.
Separate names with a comma.