Trek Tech - what can and can't it do within scope?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Qonundrum, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
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    The clinic located by the Q Continuum
    Another thread had me thinking: Star Trek always seemed to have created technology items with organized, dedicated purposes and intents, even to the point where "Wolf in the Fold" had a specifically designed tricorder ("psycho-tricorder") to analyze mental patterns and nothing more. There were engineering tricorders, geological tricorders, and medical tricorders, if memory serves. But what are the chances the writers just used "tricorder" indiscrimnately? Not at prop level since all tricorders had the same look - it cuts down on production costs - but at function level. Some may have had cross-functionality but to what extent would a medical tricorder picking up mass energy readings be deemed outside its function and come across as lazy writing?

    TOS and TNG had, for a while, had an officer telling the Transporter Chief that there were x people and y pieces of equipment to beam up - which opens up a plethora of nitpicky details over what happens if Maxwell Smart got the job of Transporter Officer and beams up 6 people on "equipment" setting, oops.

    TNG definitely took the transporter to new heights in saving peoples' lives and then never using said tweaks in any later episodes. Either because of an unwritten rule, the premise that humankind evolved, or because they knew that such plot cheats would make the show a little too lazy to be taken seriously. So what did they do, apart from finding new ways to integrate cheats in a way that hopefully suspended audience's disbelief. "Rascals" was the worst offender. And thank "Unnatural Selection" for starting the trend.

    Inversely, there's the phrase that's overdue for a song being made about it: "Warp core breach". The episode "Contagion" introduces it, but only if a complex series of improbable events take place at the right moments. Ever since then, lots of moments come together very conveniently and that's long before the TNG movies got made so what gives? Not like these are new arguments, they were popular in the 1990s after the 50th time that Geordi wailed that the ship was about to go boom boom...

    How many ways can drama and suspense be cultivated by using technology as a lynchpin? Or the other way around, as a gimmick to save the day? Is it the best way to keep an audience enthralled, especially when what sounds great the first time becomes lazily misused later on? Even weeks later in some extreme cases? Especially regarding the blasted warp core? Even to the extent that another ship grazes a nacelle and the warp core promptly explodes as a result because there are no safety protocols contrary to what Geordi otherwise stated every other week before. (Great concept in "Cause and Effect", Ensign Fletcher lifecall joke aside, but even on first airing it seemed amazing how remarkably fragile that Galaxy Class ship got by season 5! But that's season 5, not that pitiful season 2 where they tried to explain sci-fi conditions and stuff as an attempt to prevent writers from getting all convenient in the future. :D )