The Star Trek question thread


Sluis Van Shipyards

Legendary Member
I was replaying Star Trek Elite Force 2 and there's a part at Starfleet Academy where you hear some cadets talking to a professor. They are asking why they still have to learn Cochrane's warp theories 300 years later. They say that Starfleet has already surpassed Vulcan warp technology. Does that just mean that they surpassed the technology that the Vulcan's helped with after First Contact? If not doesn't Starfleet share technology with all members? Shouldn't they all have similar levels of technology then?
 

SethS

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I was always confused by things like that in Enterprise. I feel like after the formation of the Federation, the Vulcan high command was dissolved and their military disbanded. Earth;s Starfleet became the defacto service for military, exploration and scientific space missions. The Vulcans still had their own ships and technology on the civilian side, and local government backed scientific missions.

I'd imagine that as a charter member of the Federation, Vulcan and Earth were seen as equals.

I'm not sure what the better allegory is-- are they like different states/territories inside one country? Or two different countries in an alliance? So, are they Oregon and California, or are they the US and the UK?
 

Sluis Van Shipyards

Legendary Member
I can't believe no one posted to this in 3 years! I started watching DS9 again because it never reruns around here any more. I think it's funny because, like the first time I watched it, I couldn't stand Sisko and then he starts growing on you as a character. Anyway I noticed on DS9 Dr. Bashir uses the site to site transporter to take people to the medbay (or whatever they call it on DS9), which almost none of the other series ever do. I always wondered on TNG why they would cart the person off on a floating gurney instead of transport them directly to the medbay. Also why can't the transporter repair the injury in transport or would you have to have a more recent transporter log of the person to be able to do that?
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
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Site-to-site was new-ish in TNG. It had always previously been ship-to-shore or vice versa. Using the transporter to beam someone from one location to another without stopping off on the transporter pad in between required refinement of targeting sensors, increase in computer capacity, and more redundancies for a longer transport cycle. Further, beaming from a location to the transporter pad -- a designated "landing zone" -- is one thing. Beaming someone to a location within the ship required the previously outward-oriented transporter targeting scanners to also encompass the entire ship -- and beaming down to a broad open plaza or meadow on a steadily rotating planet is the broad side of a barn compared to the small, fiddly spaces aboard a starship.

By TNG, they were comfortable beaming people off ships or stations or planets, bypassing the pad, and routing them to the bridge or sickbay. Less comfortable still beaming someone from somewhere else on the same ship to the bridge or sickbay.

O'Brien's a transporter nerd, though. He built model transporters as a kid -- probably the 24th century's version of Revell's "Visible V8 Motor" kit. He was able to beam through a fractional-second sensor window in the Phoenix's shields. He most likely does things with the transporters on DS9 that would make the designers wince, but those are the people who set the new standards by challenging what people "know" is possible.

As for using the transporter to repair injuries, that's across the line they try not to cross. The closest we came was using the transporter to implant a new spinal cord for Worf when his back was broken. Using the transporter to undo the genetic damage to Pulaski when she caught the geriatric plague from the Darwin Station kids was further than the tech people wanted the transporter to go in that direction. They didn't want it to become a magic fix-it machine. And the less said about "Lonely Among Us" and "Rascals", the better.
 

dbuck

Master Member
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Also why can't the transporter repair the injury in transport or would you have to have a more recent transporter log of the person to be able to do that?
The Transporter opens up a whole can of ethical worms, doesn’t it? Once transported, are you the original or a copy? Can you use the transporter to remake yourself as a younger previously transported version? Would you keep your memories? Actually, how the heck can memories be transported at all? Shouldn’t you be an empty shell once reassembled? It split Kirk once without loss of mass.
I know, it’s a narrative tool, and was cheaper than landing the ship every week. But like the holodeck, it became far too easy to invent problems with the technology that made it unsafe at any speed.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The transporter goes around physics. It magnifies quantum probability to the macro scale. That's the only way it can even remotely theoretically work. It suppresses the probability of you being here and increases the probability of you being there until the threshold is crossed. Same thing on a large scale as what happens through random chance on the subatomic scale constantly. No "scan the original, make a copy, destroy the original" BS, no "does your soul get transported, too?" stuff. Duplicates like the "Enemy Within" Kirk or Tom Riker basically pull the same amount of "quantum foam" back across with them, due to technobabble weirdness. Thought and memory are mappable and electrochemical so those would transport, too, as they were at the moment of.

So yes, theoretically, it would be possible to isolate discrete elements of the aggregate being transported and, say, deactivate weapons, filter out known pathogens and poisons, remove clothes, and possibly even selectively filter out damaged DNA -- which is a lot of what ageing is. Transporting organs or fetuses, though, is something that should take far longer and require specialists peering into targeting scanner viewers for many minutes to make sure all the blood supply and nerve connections are good, etc. Upshot is some of the things they wanted to steer away from should be fine, and some of the things they did multiple variations of shouldn't work -- or, at least, not as depicted.
 

The Goon

Active Member
The Transporter opens up a whole can of ethical worms, doesn’t it?...Would you keep your memories? Actually, how the heck can memories be transported at all?...
At this point in time, and until further research proves it to be incorrect, it is believed that memories are stored throughout many brain structures in the connections between neurons, and can even depend on a single molecule for their long-term stability. If that's the case and the transporters are as microscopically accurate with regards to reproducing the subject/material as they're supposed to be, memories should survive transportation equally as intact as blood cells, hair follicles, skin cells, etc., etc..
 

Riceball

Master Member
So yes, theoretically, it would be possible to isolate discrete elements of the aggregate being transported and, say, deactivate weapons, filter out known pathogens and poisons, remove clothes, and possibly even selectively filter out damaged DNA -- which is a lot of what ageing is. Transporting organs or fetuses, though, is something that should take far longer and require specialists peering into targeting scanner viewers for many minutes to make sure all the blood supply and nerve connections are good, etc. Upshot is some of the things they wanted to steer away from should be fine, and some of the things they did multiple variations of shouldn't work -- or, at least, not as depicted.
According to canon, the transporters do have the ability to filter viruses, poisons, and other pathogens. Something that couldn't be done during the time of Enterprise, which allowed the producers to have those steamy decon scenes where we get to see T'pol in her skimpy Vulcan underwear, rubbing goo over herself and Archer. But, I digress. It's also mentioned that the transporters are able to filter out weapons, so if someone beamed aboard armed and with the intent of doing harm, they could be disarmed before rematerializing.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
According to canon, the transporters do have the ability to filter viruses, poisons, and other pathogens. Something that couldn't be done during the time of Enterprise, which allowed the producers to have those steamy decon scenes where we get to see T'pol in her skimpy Vulcan underwear, rubbing goo over herself and Archer. But, I digress. It's also mentioned that the transporters are able to filter out weapons, so if someone beamed aboard armed and with the intent of doing harm, they could be disarmed before rematerializing.
Yep. :) That being a thing in TNG was what I was alluding to. And definitely something that might only have been possible due to the Galaxy Class Development Project. Riker had served aboard an Ambassador class and an Excelsior class and was unprepared for the raw computing power of the Enterprise and all the things and amenities that made available.

I was speaking more to the producers' aversion to using the transporters for things they'd actually be good at on the TNG ship, and on top of that ended up using them to do things that they shouldn't have been able to do, by their own established lore and B-T-S rules.
 

Sluis Van Shipyards

Legendary Member
So yes, theoretically, it would be possible to isolate discrete elements of the aggregate being transported and, say, deactivate weapons, filter out known pathogens and poisons, remove clothes,


I can see the Starfleet human resources discussion for new transporter operators: "Starfleet will not tolerate anyone removing clothes during transport. You will be immediately reprimanded!" Otherwise Troi would never arrive fully clothed.
 

RunLoganRun

New Member
It magnifies quantum probability to the macro scale. That's the only way it can even remotely theoretically work.
This kept me awake thinking about it... So that's a very plausible real world possibility, by changing the probability of the person being at point B, apposed to point A. The problem is, that doesn't jive with the canon transporters workings, mainly the buffers, and slow fade, which imply that the person is being "deconstructed", converted into data and temporarily stored somewhere, transmitted, then "reassembled", presumably inside some force-field that empties the space they intend to beam too.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This kept me awake thinking about it... So that's a very plausible real world possibility, by changing the probability of the person being at point B, apposed to point A. The problem is, that doesn't jive with the canon transporters workings, mainly the buffers, and slow fade, which imply that the person is being "deconstructed", converted into data and temporarily stored somewhere, transmitted, then "reassembled", presumably inside some force-field that empties the space they intend to beam too.
I know. I've noodled that. Best I've come up with is a sort of "time delay" that got added after earlier models. Something that holds the transportee in quantum stasis -- enforced indeterminacy, but as an isolated event-mass -- to give time to re-verify the destination point or otherwise prepare it. That could even possibly be a later-discovered effect/use of the Heisenberg compensators. I can see it originally being a realtime thing -- as the person fades out on the pad, they're fading in at the destination. I can also see how that could have resulted in some unfortunate incidents when conditions changed suddenly during transport. So things like the confinement beam, the time-delay, the scanning and mapping of the transportee as a safety backup... One thing and another leading to the systemry we're familiar with -- just functioning differently from originally posited. I originally stumbled across explanations of what's going on at the subatomic level while looking into something else, and the lingering bright motes in transport could even be those short-lived virtual photons I had been digging into -- the things that make lightsabers so bright, but unable to light up a room.

Point is, mainly, that that's a thing we or others could come up with something for fairly easily. It solves the preservation-of-mass issues episodes like "Enemy Within", "Second Chances", and "Rascals" create. And it solves the problem that, even if the force fields are incredibly robust, we don't see trillions upon trillions of nuclear bombs' worth of energy being contained by them as someone is beamed out. Which is what is required to break subatomic bonds. We have hundreds of trillions of cells in our bodies. Never mind organelles and cytoplasm, each has a nucleus containing a full set of DNA, each strand a molecule a hundred million atoms long. Just like breaking the speed of light, it is not a brute-force problem to be solved. Rather than create infinite energy to overcome infinite mass as one crosses the threshold... HA! We simply compress spacetime in front of the ship and expand it again behind, "pulling" the universe past the ship, in effect. Phasers became possible with the discovery of subspace, as the amount of energy released by something being disintegrated is being shunted somewhere -- otherwise, again, trillions upon trillions of nuclear bombs' worth of energy released as each of those subatomic bonds is broken.

Even something as "simple" as the communicator... Yes, they inspired cell phones, but they are not cell phones. They are FTL-boosted satellite phones, with biomonitor functions and other subtle bells and whistles. By TNG, all that -- and the power to run it -- is compressed into the insignia pin on the uniform. Even something as seemingly familiar as the computers use holographic memory, optical data transfer, synthetic neural networks, and subspace boosters to run faster than light.

Whatever transporters do, it is that kind of circumventing-Newton finesse, not trying to match immovable object with irresistible force. Post-Newton, post-Einstein, post-Hawking, Star Trek is showing us controlled manipulation of the substance of reality as everyday tech.
 

Lightning

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
That's the only way it can even remotely theoretically work. It suppresses the probability of you being here and increases the probability of you being there until the threshold is crossed.

That's the Infinite Improbability drive from Hitchhikers Guide.

I figure transporters work by using some exotic method to push your atoms towards an energy state. But your atoms want to stay the way they are. So once you are sufficiently energy it beams you down and then your atoms snap themselves back together. That's the only way beaming down to a place without a transporter pad could work. Transporter accidents are caused by outside forces causing your atoms to "forget" where they are supposed to return to. That's also why you can't stay in the buffer too long, once again your atoms will forget where they are supposed to go.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
That's the Infinite Improbability drive from Hitchhikers Guide.
Maybe yes, maybe no. We've learned that things get weird down at the scale of the very small. Electrons don't trace out full orbits -- they trace out an arc and then stop Being here and start Being there instead, continuing at the same energy state. When the atom gains or loses energy and the electron shifts to a higher or lower orbit, it doesn't move between them -- it just stops being at one and starts being at the other. And down even further, things are blipping back and forth into and out of existence all the time.

The trick, then, is to learn WTF is going on, how to manipulate and control it, then to amplify that up here on a macro scale with whole collections of elementary and subelementary particles.

I figure transporters work by using some exotic method to push your atoms towards an energy state. But your atoms want to stay the way they are. So once you are sufficiently energy it beams you down and then your atoms snap themselves back together.
Sounds a lot like the same thing, viewed from different precepts. Like we're trying to describe the same mechanism but without the vocabulary to do so adequately.
 

The Goon

Active Member
...The problem is, that doesn't jive with the canon transporters workings, mainly the buffers, and slow fade, which imply that the person is being "deconstructed", converted into data and temporarily stored somewhere, transmitted, then "reassembled", presumably inside some force-field that empties the space they intend to beam to.
I don't think any form of force field or "empty space" needs to be part of the process. Assuming the transporters disassemble the being/object bit-by-bit at the initial site and reassemble it in reverse at the intended "landing" site, the being's/object's molecules would displace the atmosphere as they were being reassembled. It would be similar to building a brick wall--each brick displaces the atmosphere where it's placed as it's being put there. Except, of course, much faster.
 

RunLoganRun

New Member
Best I've come up with is a sort of "time delay" that got added after earlier models. Something that holds the transportee in quantum stasis
That actually makes good sense, the energy and data storage requirements for a conversion type transporter would be enormous. Some other/new type of buffer might be implied.

Subspace is a whole other can of worms.
 

RunLoganRun

New Member
being/object bit-by-bit at the initial site and reassemble it in reverse at the intended "landing" site, the being's/object's molecules would displace the atmosphere as they were being reassembled.
The beam in would have to be relatively slow and mono-directional to completely displace what ever soup of matter they beamed into. Which brings up another issue, gravity would immediately start acting on the new molecules, so there would need to be compensation of each ones drift before its neighbour is attached.
 

Riceball

Master Member
I don't think any form of force field or "empty space" needs to be part of the process. Assuming the transporters disassemble the being/object bit-by-bit at the initial site and reassemble it in reverse at the intended "landing" site, the being's/object's molecules would displace the atmosphere as they were being reassembled. It would be similar to building a brick wall--each brick displaces the atmosphere where it's placed as it's being put there. Except, of course, much faster.
I'd disagree. Take ST II, for instance, they beamed down to the middle of a violent sandstorm, if you didn't have some kind of forcefield, what would keep you from being beamed down with sand particles inside of you, your clothing, and everything on you?
 

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