The Star Trek question thread


The Goon

Active Member
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?
Oh, excellent point! I hadn't considered that. Okay, force fields it is! :)
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
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Also, note how much faster Klingon and Ferengi transporters cycle. There's been a question in fandom for years if Starfleet transporters are really that much safer and engineered to prevent mishaps than races that we've seen place less value on individuals' lives.
 

ALLEY

Master Member
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I’m sure all of this was discussed when Roddenberry needed to come up with a way to get the actors down to a planet without having to pay to land the ship, each week.

Yes, I’m almost certain that a “quantum stasis field” came up in the conversation vs. “fade in / fade out, with some sort of glitter or sparkle effect mixed in. Oh, and let’s add that “pitchy sound” thing that Bob in the sound effects department can make”.

5940FFBF-E254-4220-ADC8-8D3B90F53E8C.jpeg
 
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Inquisitor Peregrinus

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Oh, I quite doubt it. :p About the only tech that was thought through beyond the most basic was the propulsion system being non-Newtonian (maybe not in those terms, but they knew from their science consultants that going FTL wasn't a <- THRUST | IMPULSE -> brute-force problem). The RAND Corporation said "lasers don't work like that", so Gene altered the word slightly so it evoked laser while being different enough to tell the audience "you see it working, we just don't tell you how". Ditto transporters. There were already teleporters in s/f, so Gene wanted to imply something other than what the genre had already established. From all the flashy lights and the, IMO, inspired VFX choice of the superimposed glitter tank, it is visually obvious it takes a goodly bit of power, and some skill and training to use... But just like everything else, they leave the mechanism deliberately vague, so they don't accidentally date themselves.
 

TazMan2000

Master Member
That's also why people can't move until beaming is finished in TOS, the force field is holding them still.

It isn't holding them completely still, but it seems to be restricting their movements. However, in TNG The Realm of Fear, Lt. Barklay manages to move and grab a creature while in the process of beaming. Also, in ST: TWoK, Saavik and Kirk carry on a conversation while beaming, if I recall correctly, so obviously jaw and mouth movements are not restricted.

TazMan2000
 

ALLEY

Master Member
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Oh, I quite doubt it. About the only tech that was thought through beyond the most basic was the propulsion system being non-Newtonian (maybe not in those terms, but they knew from their science consultants that going FTL wasn't a <- THRUST | IMPULSE -> brute-force problem). The RAND Corporation said "lasers don't work like that", so Gene altered the word slightly so it evoked laser while being different enough to tell the audience "you see it working, we just don't tell you how". Ditto transporters. There were already teleporters in s/f, so Gene wanted to imply something other than what the genre had already established. From all the flashy lights and the, IMO, inspired VFX choice of the superimposed glitter tank, it is visually obvious it takes a goodly bit of power, and some skill and training to use... But just like everything else, they leave the mechanism deliberately vague, so they don't accidentally date themselves.
Well, as long as we are not using “The Will of The Force” to explain why things work in the Trek universe….
 
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Treadwell

Master Member
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That's also why people can't move until beaming is finished in TOS, the force field is holding them still.
(I'm rusty, I forget which one) there's a third season episode where they're beaming up and there's a shot of Kirk in mid-sparkle, moving his head in reaction to some shenanigans in the transporter room.
 

Apollo

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(I'm rusty, I forget which one) there's a third season episode where they're beaming up and there's a shot of Kirk in mid-sparkle, moving his head in reaction to some shenanigans in the transporter room.
“That which survives”

They were beaming down

Kirk was jealous Lo Sira had a thing for the Transporter Chief
 

Lightning

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
(I'm rusty, I forget which one) there's a third season episode where they're beaming up and there's a shot of Kirk in mid-sparkle, moving his head in reaction to some shenanigans in the transporter room.

That's cool, didn't know that. Being third season that meshes nicely with the movies where they are holding entire conversations while beaming.
 

Sluis Van Shipyards

Legendary Member
While watching DS9, I got to the episode Starship Down and Worf is kind of berating the engineers and O'Brien tells him that they are just engineers, not officers and hadn't gone through the Academy. Now I thought ALL people in a Starfleet uniform went through the Academy. Is it just officers? I guess that would make sense because in the real world enlisted don't go through an academy. I just never knew that.

One of the things that bugs me about ST is that they will be in combat and they will say "Shields at 60%" and meanwhile crewmembers are being thrown from their stations and the stations are exploding, girders falling from the ceiling etc. If you still have shields, the inside of the ship should be perfectly fine! I get they need to show combat in some form, but it makes zero sense. If Federation ships were that fragile they would barely be spaceworthy!
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

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The shields are basically an additional "hull", but made of energy. Non-physical, replenishable ablative armor, if you will. They do need time to recharge, though, especially if one area keeps getting hammered. Meanwhile, while things are getting battered around a bit, it is far less than if the shields weren't there, and the incoming energy has to go somewhere. Want to see what a torpedo hit on a shielded versus unshielded hull looks like?

Shielded (for the moment) -- 15 seconds:

Unshielded -- 18 seconds:
 

Riceball

Master Member
While watching DS9, I got to the episode Starship Down and Worf is kind of berating the engineers and O'Brien tells him that they are just engineers, not officers and hadn't gone through the Academy. Now I thought ALL people in a Starfleet uniform went through the Academy. Is it just officers? I guess that would make sense because in the real world enlisted don't go through an academy. I just never knew that.

One of the things that bugs me about ST is that they will be in combat and they will say "Shields at 60%" and meanwhile crewmembers are being thrown from their stations and the stations are exploding, girders falling from the ceiling etc. If you still have shields, the inside of the ship should be perfectly fine! I get they need to show combat in some form, but it makes zero sense. If Federation ships were that fragile they would barely be spaceworthy!
I think that's something that the writers must have gotten confused about or was unique to smaller ships like the Defiant because on the Enterprise in TNG, Geordi was almost certainly an Academy grad. He started as the helmsman and not an engineer so he almost certainly went to the Academy. In TOS Scotty is command rated and stands watch on the con, something that I doubt he would do if he wasn't an Academy grad and just an engineer only.

The other possibility is that many of the engineering personnel, particularly ones serving aboard smaller vessels are all enlisted and don't go through the Academy. Trek is very vague on the subject of enlisted personnel. I believe that Rodenberry had said that Starfleet is all officers, but we see engineering personnel wearing red jumpsuits with Scotty being the only one in uniform. Then in the TOS movies, we see people in the background wearing the jumpers we first see in ST II but with black dickies instead of the orange, All of those instances I took those people to possibly be enlisted rates. And we know that O'Brien is a Chief Petty Officer, an enlistedman.

As for shields, what I find funny about them is how when they are fresh, the percentage of damage is pretty high and they start dropping pretty quickly, But when they start getting low, somewhere below 50% they seem to become more efficient and drop more slowly. So, instead of dropping in increments of, say, 10% each hit when above 50%, when they get below 50% their shields start losing power in 5% percent, or less, increments all of a sudden. It's like shields at 90, 80, 70, 60, 50 percent, then it becomes 45%, 43%, 41%, and so on down.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

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I believe that Rodenberry had said that Starfleet is all officers, but we see engineering personnel wearing red jumpsuits with Scotty being the only one in uniform. Then in the TOS movies, we see people in the background wearing the jumpers we first see in ST II but with black dickies instead of the orange, All of those instances I took those people to possibly be enlisted rates. And we know that O'Brien is a Chief Petty Officer, an enlistedman.
There's a lot to unpack in there. Roddenberry contradicted himself with that assertion, as he had a CPO Garison sitting at Communications in "The Cage". It's there in the script, that he wrote, as well as in the end credits.

Regarding the movie uniforms... Bob Fletcher, for TMP, had something similar to later TNG, where there were multiple uniforms available per person, depending on what they were doing. Class A and B two piece uniforms for regular duty, Class C one-pieces, and "scrubs" -- utility one-pieces with a tied belt/sash. There was also uniform color -- white for command personnel, blue-gray for senior staff, beige/tan for other personnel, rust/brown for techs, etc. And then the department color on the insignia patch on top of that. But there were definitely enlisted personnel there, too.

Starting with TWOK and going through at least "Yesterday's Enterprise", the TMP jumpsuits were altered a bit and re-dyed for enlisted personnel and trainees, while officers and officer cadets got a revised version of the TOS uniform, plus a new jacket.

The protective suits are worn by most engineering personnel in the first six films -- officers and enlisted. Gotta look at the rank insignia, there. The red collar/dickie versus black does distinguish active-duty from trainees and cadets, though, yes.

About the only place Starfleet is shown as "only officers" is the three seasons of TOS, bracketed by the first pilot and the first film, both penned by Roddenberry, where there are very definitely enlisted personnel.

But O'Brien's a goddamn Lieutenant. He was an Ensign in "Encounter at Farpoint", and then was in the Lieutenant grades, and addressed as such, and Captain Maxwell spoke of him being his tactical officer on his previous command, all the way up until "Family" when Ron Moore couldn't tell the difference between job (Transporter Chief) and rank. I just wanna grab him and shake him and ask him if that means the Chief Engineer or Chief Medical Officer or Security Chief are all Chief Petty Officers, too. Idiot. I love the idea of there being a crusty old sergeant on DS9, but it shouldn't have been such a sloppy and insulting retcon.

As for shields, what I find funny about them is how when they are fresh, the percentage of damage is pretty high and they start dropping pretty quickly, But when they start getting low, somewhere below 50% they seem to become more efficient and drop more slowly. So, instead of dropping in increments of, say, 10% each hit when above 50%, when they get below 50% their shields start losing power in 5% percent, or less, increments all of a sudden. It's like shields at 90, 80, 70, 60, 50 percent, then it becomes 45%, 43%, 41%, and so on down.
They're meant to ablate with the incoming whatever, and then have time to bounce back. When ongoing damage is coming in, they reroute power from less-vital systems to shields, or, if the damage is focused on a particular area, they'll reroute power to the shield sector in question. Either way, dumping more energy in to try to stabilize or "harden" the shields, regardless of how low their integrity is getting. Like swapping out a one-inch iron plate that's been deformed by an incoming round with an eighth-inch stainless steel plate because that's all you have left. The iron dissipated the ballistic energy by deforming, at the cost of its integrity. The stainless steel is harder, and if the shot hits at the right angle it'll ricochet off, but more of the kinetic energy is going to get through to rattle you around. You can take a forty percent drop from the first hit, as it gets distributed through the system and you prepare your response. But beyond that...

It's as true in Star Trek as in real life. The best defense is to not be where the blow falls. Between evasive action for an active enemy, and active and passive deflectors for natural micro or macro objects, the intention is to prevent whatever it is from actually reaching the ship itself. When energy shields were discovered/invented, it was like getting extra layers of hull or armor without the mass of all that extra metal. But it still means the primary defense has failed. If you can keep it, then, at least a glancing blow, and give the shields time to regenerate after impact, everything should still be okay. Below that, it's as I describe above -- attempts to minimize/mitigate damage. Maneuver the ship to present fresh shields to the enemy fire, say, or cut power to life support to try to keep shields up a little longer.
 

Lightning

Sr Member
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One thing that has never been clear, is what the shield percentages represent. It seems like it should be the percentage of enemy fire that is blocked, but we see too much protection when shields are at, say, 5%. Functionally that should be no different than having no shields at all. On the other hand it could be calculating how much damage the shield system can take before it fails, with shields remaining at full strength until 0%, but that's not what we see on screen where visible damage gets more severe as the percentage drops.

Perhaps the solution here is that the weakest shield bubble that can physically be projected blocks, lets say, 50% of weapons energy (this would change based on how powerful a weapon it was). It's impossible to make a shield that blocks less energy (not strong enough to hold up it's own "weight"). But you'd count down until collapse so "Shields at 50%" actually blocks 75% of weapons energy, and "Shields at 2%" is blocking 51% of weapons energy.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

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It really does seem to be measuring how much damage a part or whole can absorb before it goes phut. As long as there is 1% remaining, some portion of the incoming attack will be ablated. Shields at full strength have enough "mush" to soak up a lot without passing it on, but the lower they get the "harder" they get, putting maintaining hull integrity over crew comfort.
 

JPH

Sr Member
as per StarFleeet Battles, shields are like an extra layer of energy armour around a ship.


How they react to damage changes based on what the writers want.

Like hyperspace in Star Wars, if folks could make hyperspace nukes, nothing would be safe.

Plenty of scenes in Next Gen where the shield is a bubble around the ship, but in movies, shields let some of the damage through.

Sure, the technology can advance and change with time, but the inconsistencies are pretty...consistent.

Trying to find a unified theory for movie and tv Star Trek shields is a "shake your head and say, 'good luck,'" debate.

 

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