The Star Trek question thread

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Sluis Van Shipyards

Master Member
I was watching an episode of TNG the other day and there's a group of a five people on an away mission. Dr. Crusher presser her badge and says "three to beam up" and of course the exact three that needed to go were beamed up. So, other than not wasting screen time on it, how do they know exactly who (besides who called) to beam up? I thought maybe the others pressed their comm badges when we weren't looking or something.
 

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Treadwell

Master Member
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The two wearing comm badges who are closest to the person calling.

I always like how whomever you're calling answers in real time like they were already listening. There should be a pause, as the computer waits for you to finish saying who it is you're calling so it knows whose "extension" to "ring".
 

Fenris

Well-Known Member
Flaw in the script.

But if you wanna get technical about it, maybe they do have some sort of device to signal which one of them needs to be beamed up.

That scenario actually happens a lot. Unless of course, somebody on the ship is constantly monitoring their communications even when on an away mission. Maybe the comm badge acts as a "bug" that analysts listen in on and they relay the info to the transporter room who exactly to lock on to. Dunno... just crazy, wild speculation on my part. Hehehe.
 

Jedi2016

Sr Member
Most of the time when that happens, the ones that want to beam up step away from the others, so the transporter operator can clearly see them apart from everyone else. Usually.
 

leafman

Well-Known Member
If I was watching the same episode you were (on BBCA), whoever was operating the transporter just took Crusher and the two people beside her. I think who they beam up is based on how they are grouped. The transporter op can monitor the positions of life signs from their console so they can get a lock on people that don't have a comm badge as well.
 

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Apollo

Legendary Member
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O'Brian was a known snoop.

He would listen in on EVERYBODY much to Keikos consternation. ;)


Unless of course, somebody on the ship is constantly monitoring their communications even when on an away mission. Maybe the comm badge acts as a "bug" that analysts listen in on and they relay the info to the transporter room who exactly to lock on to. Dunno... just crazy, wild speculation on my part. Hehehe.
 

Riceball

Master Member
The two wearing comm badges who are closest to the person calling.

I always like how whomever you're calling answers in real time like they were already listening. There should be a pause, as the computer waits for you to finish saying who it is you're calling so it knows whose "extension" to "ring".

Along the same lines, how does the computer even when you're actually calling somebody? Initially they'd show the cast pressing their combadges onboard the Enterprise to make a call but then there would be times where they would just say "X to Y" without ever pressing their combadge. They were equally inconsistent on the receiving end where sometimes the recipient would tap their combadge to take the call while other times they'd simply answer without doing anything.
 

Angelus Lupus

Sr Member
As I recall, it was the very issue of commbadge pressing (and the inconsistencies thereof) that led to someone writing the first Nitpickers Guide for TNG.
Blame inconsistent writers, a lack of guidelines on how this new fictional tech would work, and a show being made in the days before hands-free, bluetooth, and voice-dialling.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
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Some things attributable to lazy writing or lack of guidelines can actually be made awesomely workable -- like 3D room sensors (that is, not a single location) mapping who's moving where and how fast and such. It wouldn't be that difficult to write some sort of predictive probability-calculation subroutine (with a probability threshold set by experiment) that can tell when someone's just moving around and when they're heading for the door. And, if they stop with the door open and turn back to say something to someone in the room, the probability still remains high enough that they're going to continue out the door that they're held open. But if that person keeps talking and moves back into the room, the probability drops below the threshold and the doors close again. That sort of thing.

I can even fudge the "realtime" comm system paging by saying it's something to do with the FTL processing boosters in the main computer allowing the computer to hear the page from the speaker and play it for the intended recipient before the speaker had actually finished speaking. Same applies to the lack of signal lag from ship to surface. Take that, Einstein.

For the tapping, it's said in the tech manual that the tapping of panels or commbadges is largely habit. The one time it's most egregious is in the first-season finale when Riker is paged by Picard and walks halfway across the room to tap the comm panel on the wall, just so the writer could have the obnoxious cryo-refugee see and be able to figure out how to call the bridge later. Aboard ship or for intrafacility comms, just speaking to the air is all you need. When you're outside and receiving on your commbadge, you just need to speak in acknowledgment. When you're inside and receiving an outside transmission, you need to go to the commpanel (since it's usually a video feed). The only times you need to tap your commbadge are when you're outside initiating a call, or to end it (or put on hold), rather than saying "[surname] out".

Would've been nice if they'd been consistent with that...

--Jonah
 

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Solo4114

Master Member
The holodeck makes no sense at all.

I mean, it's a cool concept, but it also makes no sense.

How do people not walk into the walls? What happens if two characters walk in opposite directions? How is the Holodeck capable of depicting -- convincingly -- larger environments than the room itself? Unless they used Time Lord technology, it just don't make no sense.
 

Riceball

Master Member
For the tapping, it's said in the tech manual that the tapping of panels or commbadges is largely habit. The one time it's most egregious is in the first-season finale when Riker is paged by Picard and walks halfway across the room to tap the comm panel on the wall, just so the writer could have the obnoxious cryo-refugee see and be able to figure out how to call the bridge later. Aboard ship or for intrafacility comms, just speaking to the air is all you need. When you're outside and receiving on your commbadge, you just need to speak in acknowledgment. When you're inside and receiving an outside transmission, you need to go to the commpanel (since it's usually a video feed). The only times you need to tap your commbadge are when you're outside initiating a call, or to end it (or put on hold), rather than saying "[surname] out".

Would've been nice if they'd been consistent with that...

--Jonah

The tapping of the combadge for surface to ship comms was never done consistently either, I remember a few times where somebody on an away team would just say, "X to Enterprise" without ever touching their combadge. The show was always very inconsistent in showing how the comms were supposed to work.

The holodeck makes no sense at all.

I mean, it's a cool concept, but it also makes no sense.

How do people not walk into the walls? What happens if two characters walk in opposite directions? How is the Holodeck capable of depicting -- convincingly -- larger environments than the room itself? Unless they used Time Lord technology, it just don't make no sense.

The Tech Manual explained that by saying that the floor of the holodeck would work like a treadmill and you'd be basically always walking or running in place. This would work pretty well I'd think and as long as everything is moving at the right speed it should be unnoticeable. Where the holodeck, as depicted, runs into problems is when you have more than one person in the holodeck at the same time and they move further apart from each other than the holodeck is large like playing just about any kind of team sport or that sailing ship Enterprise sim at the beginning of Generations. About the only I think that could work would be to create walls in front of the people that essentially have projections of the others on them appearing as they would be if they were really as far apart as they're supposed to be. But I think that would only work for a limited number of people since even with a treadmill floor system you'd still need room enough so that people wouldn't be able to reach and touch the walls.
 

Solo4114

Master Member
Yeah, it basically doesn't make sense. For one person? No prob. For multiple people all moving in different directions and at different levels? Nope. Doesn't work.

I'd have solved it by having it be a computer sim that you wear a headset for or where it maps to your neural pathways while you're seated in a chair. So, less a holodeck and more like a sim room where you just have rows of sim chairs. Probably would've been harder to shoot, though.
 

darthgordon

Sr Member
The holodeck would work for more than one person the same way it works for one. Now keeping in mind that it's a large room that would allow for interactions with people within close enough proximity to each other, but would need to use the same treadmill effect on each participant as they move further away from each other. Perspective change can be accomplished by either creating a force field lens that would change shape as each participant moved further away to simulate distance. Or an entirely different image could be projected between each participant. Acoustics would also have to altered in the room to simulate distance.

Calculation and prediction for each variable would be incredibly complicated. But keep in mind that the A.I. in TNG is more than 300 years more advanced than ours currently. 350 years ago we didn't even have computers. Since TNG premiered in 87 I've seen insane progress in computer programming technology. 350 years ago we didn't even have steam engines!

Similarly to the comm system. The computer technology is so advanced that it knows what you're saying in real time, locates and transfers your message to the appropriate location. Not only is the A.I. so advanced, but the hardware operates at speeds FTL. You'd never notice the time it takes to locate the other person and route your transmission. As for the inconsistencies... Well, that's usually dictated by needs of the script or desires of the director. It is stil after all, just a tv show ;)
 

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Treadwell

Master Member
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I don't mean there needs to be a transmission delay, like lag or whatever. I mean that the computer doesn't know WHO you're calling until you've said it. So it can't start broadcasting "Treadwell to Scarlett Johansson" until I've said her name. So the computer is really recording my page and playing it back to my wife Scarlett once I've identified the intended recipient. Not in real time.
 

dascoyne

Master Member
How is it that all spacecraft in the known universe orient themselves in a single plane?
I mean, you never see a spacecraft upside down on the view screen.
 

Sluis Van Shipyards

Master Member
Another thing that always bugged me was when someone is seriously injured and they call for medics. Why not just beam them directly to the medbay? They have done it occasionally, but not all the time.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I don't mean there needs to be a transmission delay, like lag or whatever. I mean that the computer doesn't know WHO you're calling until you've said it. So it can't start broadcasting "Treadwell to Scarlett Johansson" until I've said her name. So the computer is really recording my page and playing it back to my wife Scarlett once I've identified the intended recipient. Not in real time.

Mazel tov. :D

I was talking about some form of their advanced mastery of space-time to maybe have the computer record it, but then start playing it back to the recipient simultaneous with the speaker originally speaking the page, thanks to some tech that lets the computer jink data aboard ship a few seconds earlier on the timeline.

--Jonah
 

Treadwell

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
;)

That's a neat SF concept but such casual timey-wimey tech isn't something Starfleet was ever shown having in use as a matter of course.
 

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