Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by EmoBorg, Jun 25, 2018.
The greatest threat to Starfleet ships... writers.
The trouble with having really great anti-intuder mechanisms is that if the intruder gets control of them somehow, they're great tools to incapacitate the crew and gain total control of the ship.
Which is how I imagine it happened. I'd guess an inside source helped a small party to sneak on board and gave them access to the intruder systems. It would then be simple to release sleepy gas throughout the ship, incapacitating the crew. Beam the crew off into space and rendezvous with a small Romulan ship to bring reinforcements aboard.
This is just another aspect of the uncoupling of volume and power in Trek space fighting...
You don't need to scale your fleet in proportion to the volume of space you wish to defend. After all, nobody in Trek manages to patrol the borders - they always leak like a sieve, even against visible intruders who just fake their warp signature or transponder code or whatnot. How one goes about defending one's realm instead is by scaling one's forces to be the match of the opposite's. If the Klingons have 5,000 ships for attacking the major Federation worlds, the Feds just need to have 6,000 ships so that they can annihilate the major worlds of the Klingons if they dare cross the border. Defense at the strategic level can be handled through offense, while actual blocking of attacks is generally futile - as seen in all the Trek wars so far.
The defender is always at a disadvantage, unless defending a point target. The attacker can choose where and when to concentrate his forces, be it against a collection of star systems or a collection of starship spaces; the defender must either divide or then guess. Which is why audacious attacks in Trek always have good odds of working, and why things like tachyon nets or stun gas or forcefields only slightly slow down the enemy and serve little purpose in an all-out war.
It's pretty clear that Starfleet doesn't operate as a defensive force most of the time. Thus it seems unlikely to me that the Federation scales the number of Starfleet ships to match their enemies. They are more likely to build the number of ships they think they need to do enough exploring and science and diplomacy to keep everyone happy, IMO.
And the typical mode of operation that we actually see is for ships to travel alone, exploring whatever area of space - and doing diplomacy missions, assisting scientific facilities, and doing routine tasks like cargo transport along the way.
As such I would expect that at least a large part of the fleet would indeed normally be scattered and would scale to volume, at least approximately.
That's only your supposition. Data only talks about the compromised warp engines to explain how the typically slower Warbird was able to catch up so quickly and to explain the strange readings that they had detected. He's not really going to know much else.
I'm just reporting the truth and I've delivered the on-screen evidence to back it up. You've just some emotional investment in the matter and are sticking your fingers in your ears saying la-la in effort to deny it. It is just a TV show y'know.
OK, here's more evidence. At the end of The Defector the Enterprise & three sizable Klingon Bops face down two warbirds. Yet Picard and Tomalak agree that neither will survive the assault of the other. It is only at this point do they have parity.
From your first and third paragraphs, I think what you are trying to say is that Starfleet's need for exploration and science and diplomacy is much greater that it's military needs, so that is the main driver for the size of their fleet.
Not that they don't try to have more ships than the Klingons, but rather that they need to build so many ships for other reasons that they never need to build more just to match the Klingons.
If that's what you are saying, I agree.
But if you are saying the Federation might be weaker militarily than the Klingons because that just isn't a priority for them, I disagree.
The Federation has no shortage of neighbors who would gladly take part of what the Federation has by force if they think that would succeed, so the Federation definitely needs enough combat capability to convince such neighbors they would fail.
I'm saying that they see it that way, certainly. Look at how many times we get the "we are a ship of exploration" and "we don't build warships" lines.
Actually the opposite. My point is that the Federation doesn't put much effort into the military side of things, either in ship design or numbers and deployment... and yet it's still the military equal of the Klingons, Romulans, and Cardassians who DO focus their fleets primarily on war.
From this it seems obvious to me that if the Federation ever decided to shift their fleet to a military one, they would comprehensively outclass any of the other major powers.
In essence it's not so different to the US before World War II. The US of the time had a good sized military, reasonably powerful and capable compared to any other - but when they really decided to go all-in on military production, they quickly outstripped not just anybody else but pretty much everybody else combined.
in TSFS the Enterprise was inferred could be flown by just 1 or 2 people, so a high level of automation. Automation is all well and good but even with a full crew I suspect that the weapon systems would likely still be manually operated instead of giving the computer an order.
As for why only 10 people could operate the Prometheus it was a brand new so perhaps at the time that was the total number of people that had been trained to operate if the ship had gone in to full production more would be trained.
In regards to pooh-poohing the idea that the Klingons could have on the flip of a coin crushed the Federation if they wanted to, I have been reminded that Trek VI, while making the case that the only reason peace is happening is because the Klingons are suddenly in a weaker position and are finally prepared the concede in order to survive, also sees Admiral Cartwright express his fear that the Klingons are tenacious and if Starfleet were to demilitarize and the Klingons simply take the mood then their natural fighting spirit and instinctively warlike nature could see them swarm the Federation definitively. Even as late as TNG season 7 ("Aquiel") it is mentioned that historically Klingon raids on Federation facilities are within living memory, mere years before the beginning of TNG season one in the timeline, and indeed when the Enterprise crew encounter Klingons in that first season their reaction is one of potential and deep rooted distrust, regardless of the two powers being at peace... with all of this in mind, that the YE-verse version of the Federation is being given an absolute pasting by Klingon forces isn't quite so far fetched even in our own timeline...
One thing we have to remember is how differently Klingons fight versus the way a typical Starfleet officer fights.
Starfleet highly prizes life, while Klingons treat death 'like a lover', as Dax once put it. Starfleet officers will fight to the death if necessary, but vurtually always a last resort. Klingons, from start to finish, fight to the death with ease. They look at it like there is no better way to die.
Fighting an opponent like that, the rules of war change a bit. The Jem'Hadar are a good equivalent, and look at how devastating that war ended up becoming, and they were even more extreme with Jem'Hadar ships just ramming into Starfleet (in "THE JEM'HADAR") and Klingon ships (in several scenes during episodes, like "WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND") without a second thought, and in some cases at the beginning of the battle.
I'd say that the Romulans were more practical, frugal and economical than all of the other powers by devoting their tactics to stealth...
WWII is still within living memory despite it ending 70 years ago, someone just has to be alive in 2364 (TNG S1) to remember a Klingon raid say someone like Doctor McCoy or Spock.
Good point. I remember reading once that a reason attributed to why the Daleks probably caught the public imagination is that they pricked a part of the psyche that for many people was only 20 years old at that point.
...Here, though, it was explicated that the last raid potentially relevant to the events (and not necessarily the last overall) was just seven years before the episode. Some allies!
This further reflects how easy offense is in Trek, and how defense can hinge on constant if low-key offense that keeps up the deterrent.
But Trek also has mighty defenses, even if they are only hearsay until late DSN. Fixed fortifications apparently tear hundreds of simultaneously attacking starships to shreds, meaning one needs thousands for high-key offense against major worlds or installations. This brings the war dynamic to the medieval times and the impregnable castles, the usually dispersed and rarely assembled fighting forces, and the ability of an army to roam territory at will, with little concern for logistics, lines of battle, or long range sensing beyond sporadic recce missions.
The fixed fortifications like the Space stations could defend their local area of space. That reduces the need for massive fleets of ship. The space stations counted as a military assets.Therefore the major powers had space stations to defend their territories. Any notable Klingon or Romulan space stations out there ?
Thing is about Starfleet space stations is that they look like they were built inside a cave! Look at the scenes with the dying Commander Hansen in Balance of Terror for instance!
The Klingon Ty'Gokor stronghold could be easily infiltrated but was considered impregnable, supposedly even against those arch-infiltrators Romulans. Supposedly the vicinity was full of sensor and weapon emplacements to keep cloaked armadas at bay.
No mention of Romulan fortresses, or planetary defenses, or base defense capabilities of note. Indeed, the only Romulan base we hear of, in "The Defector", is a faaaake! But when the Romulans try to set up a forward base under pretenses in "Image in the Sand", it is to be covertly armed with fearsome plasma torpedoes; more overt and less impromptu installations would presumably be more heavily defended (but quite possibly equally covert whenever the Romulans could make them so).
Those were observation "outposts," built on asteroids to monitor the neutral zone. They weren't "stations" like K-7.
Sorry about that, JTB! I don't know why I got the two confused!
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