A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Default The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    Let me start this off by saying I'm not a diehard Trekkie. I'm only just now watching through all the series on netflix starting with original and Next Gen.

    But something occured to me and I don't think it was addressed in any of the series. I could be wrong though.

    The Holodeck: The best possible recreation and the worst possible catastrophes. I've seen bits and pieces of the holodeck screwing up things throughout the series. Even in early Next Gen La Forge (the freaking engineer) screws up and accidentally has the computer make a self-aware Moriarty who takes control of the ship from inside the holodeck.

    Later in the series I've seen holograms leave the holodeck and basically get free roam of the ship. I'm pretty sure there was one episode where the whole ship was taken over by a hostile hologram which led to Klingons fighting Nazis or something.

    Which leads me to this question: Why is this never weaponized? Forget phasers and torpedoes, with a few minor modifications (this is Star Trek you know) a holodeck, perhaps combined with replicator technology for good measure, could manifest any weapon you could think of and in effectively infinite supply. You could manifest dinosaur-riding robot ninja pirates on the deck of the enemy ship and no matter how well disciplined they'd be too bewildered to fight back.

    Holo-jury rig up a room full of acid and drop it smack in the middle of enemy forces. Even if they survive it will wreak havoc on their ships' computer systems.

    Or even better yet, with one holodeck generator create one or more ships with holodeck generators, then repeat the process until one holodeck creates an entire fleet of ships each armed with an infinite number of weapons and troops from whatever could possibly be imagined, and not just from human culture, but from every Federation race contributing every historical allegory, fairy tail, cultural myth, religion, etc all summonable at the push of a button.

    Forget reversing the polarity on the power converters, forget bouncing a particle beam off the main deflector dish, if you need to make something up, do so with a holodeck. Borg Cube, meet Death Star.

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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscipleofBob View Post
    Forget phasers and torpedoes, with a few minor modifications (this is Star Trek you know) a holodeck, perhaps combined with replicator technology for good measure, could manifest any weapon you could think of and in effectively infinite supply.
    If you have the replicator (which is really just a modified transporter), you don't even need the holodeck. Just feed the replicator the pattern you wish to produce. If I recall correctly, the holodeck used replicator technology to create the physical environment that the crew interacted with. Holograms were only used to create the illusion of a larger world within the room.

    The problem with the replicator is that it requires energy and matter input. You can't simply go into infinite creation mode; a xerox machine will stop making copies when it runs out of ink or paper. Add in handwaving that certain things couldn't be created with a replicator (don't recall details here), and the fact that it's easier to create something that looks like it works in the holodeck (add in special effects) than an actual object that works in the real world. The holodeck can create the illusion that you're swinging around a lightsaber, but it can't create an actual lightsaber, because that would just violate physics.

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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    There were dozens of potential weapon systems that were never used in Star Trek - they had the science and the technology, but just never put them to effective use. In-universe, the explanation seems to be that the Federation is absolutely terrible at military R&D. Out-of-universe, it's because writers would introduce something new for one episode and then forget about it.

    Probably the most blatant example was the transporter-sniper-rifle from DS9. They get a weapon that can shoot through walls using easily available technology . . . and they forget about it completely and never use it again. It's especially blatant because later on, they did the "Siege of AR-558" episode, with Federation and Jem'Hadar attacking each other with WW1-style trench warfare. There were dozens of bits of previously-established technology that could have won the battle for them quickly easily, but it never occurred to anyone to use them.
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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    The holodeck is a bunch of forcefields and a light show with some replicated stuff thrown in to round out edges.

    The only real basis for an independent hologram is to make a mobile emitter for it, which was only done for the Doctor in Voyager with some time travel that left him a 29th(?) century piece of tech. In short well beyond the Federation/Alpha-Quadrant's technological capabilities. And while there are certain applications for holograms they are still fundamentally unstable entities, and Trek is well beyond the point where it would matter. Oh noes holographic T-rex... or right let's just phaser it. It can't be fundamentally stronger then the forcefields that make it up.

    Any exceptions to this are either irreproducible accidents (I think there's a TNG episode with one hologram exiting the holodeck) or ****ty writing. The holodeck is easily the most despised of Trek inventions. I think the only time it was used meaningfully was to let Scotty visit the Enterprise no damn A, B, C, or D in one TNG episode.

    (What's that the Doctor you say, okay fair enough. But two words for you: robot body)

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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    Transporter
    Teleport the Anti-Matter in the ship directly onto the bridge.
    Boom.
    Win.
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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    Quote Originally Posted by razark View Post
    The problem with the replicator is that it requires energy and matter input. You can't simply go into infinite creation mode; a xerox machine will stop making copies when it runs out of ink or paper. Add in handwaving that certain things couldn't be created with a replicator (don't recall details here), and the fact that it's easier to create something that looks like it works in the holodeck (add in special effects) than an actual object that works in the real world. The holodeck can create the illusion that you're swinging around a lightsaber, but it can't create an actual lightsaber, because that would just violate physics.
    Two things that I can gather:

    The energy and matter thing really isn't much of a problem because they're in space. There's random space particles and radiation that the Enterprise can feed off of. It's mentioned in at least one Star Trek episode (which one I can't remember for the life of me) that if the Enterprise or any ship were to be completely inert it would eventually starve itself of air and other important supplies because of the lack of particles being gathered to convert into air/other systems. There was also a web cartoon that parodied and lampshaded this where the ship couldn't take off due to "weather conditions" (it was foggy and they were worried they would hit a plane or something) but they were quickly running out of air and supplies because they were inert on the ground. That and there have been enough episodes where in a pinch engineering got a boost from some random nearby source of radiation to get done what they needed to get done.

    Also, the holodeck can violate its own rules. In the Next Gen episode that had me thinking about this in the first place, the computer created a self-aware hologram that could control the holodeck and hack the ship's systems despite even engineering believing that to be impossible. Then there's the Voyager episode where the holographic people of Fair Haven start noting the program edits as "black magic" and end up trying to lynch crew members when the computer starts working. Then there's the Killing Game where holograms eventually break free and roam the ship. Not saying it's the norm, but there definitely is precedent for the holodeck technology to exceed its normal expectations.

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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    Voyager is a bit of an interesting example. Well, first off, it really shouldn't be used as justification for anything. Ever. But, with regards to holodeck stuff, the ship was modified so that their were holo-emitters throughout the ship, allowing the Doctor to travel throughout the ship.

    Regarding energy, it doesn't matter with regards to normal energy usage patterns. Using the repicators in such a fashion would likely not be such a case.
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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavar View Post
    Voyager is a bit of an interesting example. Well, first off, it really shouldn't be used as justification for anything. Ever. But, with regards to holodeck stuff, the ship was modified so that their were holo-emitters throughout the ship, allowing the Doctor to travel throughout the ship.
    Umm that's wrong, there was the one episode with the Prometheus where the Doctor met the EMH Mk II that had them but Voyager did not.

    Early on the Doctor couldn't leave sickbay except to go to the holodeck. Later they decided this was too limiting and wrote a story to give him his little shoulder tag so he could go anywhere.

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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscipleofBob View Post
    Why is this never weaponized?
    Because most Star Trek writters really are not that good. Right at the top of my mind, all the really good Star Trek episodes are about people outsmarting each other with no reliance on fancy tech.
    If the Holodeck or the Deflector Dish are part of the plot, it is most likely a rather bad episode.
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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    The question you should be asking is why the enemies of the week never attempt to weaponize said holodeck? Note that all of your examples, from Moriarty to the Killing Game, were the holodeck malfunctioning and causing trouble or potential harm - there's never been even a slight hint that the cast could so much as cause these problems at will, let alone employ them beneficially.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    Quote Originally Posted by Karoht View Post
    Transporter
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    Boom.
    Win.
    Generally speaking, with shields up, this is impossible. Sure, it makes a fine first strike capability, but once the element of surprise is gone and you are actually at war, it's pretty much useless.
    Artificial gravity, make localized areas of a ship have more mass. So much more they collapse into a micro-blackhole and evaporate in a shower of Hawking radiation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    Artificial gravity, make localized areas of a ship have more mass. So much more they collapse into a micro-blackhole and evaporate in a shower of Hawking radiation.
    Replicate a sphere of plutonium on the enemy vessel. Use gravity technology to compress it. No more enemy ship.

    Use replicator to replicate massive lump of something. Use treknobabble device to accelerate it to 99.9% light speed. Impact into enemy vessel.

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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    Artificial black hole... replicated nuke.... both are bombs so it goes like this:

    Make Bomb---> Shoot Bomb ---> Bomb Goes Boom on Enemy Shields --> Enemy shields are holding/down/XX%/whatever

    Glorified. Proton. Torpedo.

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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    Quote Originally Posted by razark View Post
    Replicate a sphere of plutonium on the enemy vessel. Use gravity technology to compress it. No more enemy ship.
    Replicators are transporters that use a stored, and less detailed, pattern.
    Yes, this is a case where the authors *did* think of the implications, at least partially.
    Unless you can suborn their own computers and replicators to make the plutonium, by passing any safety features to prevent the creation of large quantities of obviously dangerous materials, in which case you could just play around their shields, engines, environmental systems, warp core, et cetera.
    Use replicator to replicate massive lump of something. Use treknobabble device to accelerate it to 99.9% light speed. Impact into enemy vessel.
    The 'navigation shields' take of objects of similar energies while at warp, the most basic of basic shields.
    Last edited by Ravens_cry; 2012-04-12 at 12:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soras Teva Gee View Post
    Make Bomb---> Shoot Bomb ---> Bomb Goes Boom on Enemy Shields --> Goto step 1. Repeat.
    There ya go.

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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    The biggest one for me are the cloaked replicator mines. If used beyond the limited use seen in the show you would have an exponentially growing, invisible, self-repairing mine field. That's a pretty terrifying weapon. Seed one or two mines in an enemy system and in a few days you've essentially blockaded the system and are able to hold it hostage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weezer View Post
    The biggest one for me are the cloaked replicator mines. If used beyond the limited use seen in the show you would have an exponentially growing, invisible, self-repairing mine field. That's a pretty terrifying weapon. Seed one or two mines in an enemy system and in a few days you've essentially blockaded the system and are able to hold it hostage.
    More than a few days. I mean, it takes quite a while to set up the field for the wormwhole, and that's a comparatively minuscule area compared with a system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    The 'navigation shields' take of objects of similar energies while at warp, the most basic of basic shields.
    When I say massive, I mean on the order of a small moon. Or a large moon. Navigational deflectors can't repel impacts of that magnitude.

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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    Quote Originally Posted by razark View Post
    When I say massive, I mean on the order of a small moon. Or a large moon. Navigational deflectors can't repel impacts of that magnitude.
    No, but they can dodge. Space is BIG, remember, objects of that size aren't exactly lying around everywhere, and shipboard replicators wouldn't have the raw material or energy to create an object that size.

    Kinetic impact weapons are great against planets - unless you can also strap warp engines to that moon and make it steerable, the target will see it coming and just get out of the way.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2012-04-12 at 12:51 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by razark View Post
    When I say massive, I mean on the order of a small moon. Or a large moon. Navigational deflectors can't repel impacts of that magnitude.
    And Trek tech can't really accelerate such objects. At least, not the tech that Starfleet has.
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    Quote Originally Posted by razark View Post
    There ya go.
    You ever heard of them running out of Proton Torpedoes? Because that is all it does and ever will do therefore will be put to the exact same story purposes. So I'm failing to see a significant improvement here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    ...shipboard replicators wouldn't have the raw material or energy to create an object that size.
    Yeah, someone pointed that out earlier, but it was discarded, so I just ran with the idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavar View Post
    And Trek tech can't really accelerate such objects. At least, not the tech that Starfleet has.
    Trek tech can do one thing and one thing only. It can do "whatever the script calls for". That's the glory of fiction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tavar View Post
    And Trek tech can't really accelerate such objects. At least, not the tech that Starfleet has.
    Repulsor/Tractor array was strong enough to mostly deflect another starship on a collision course at full impulse. But, had their thrusters and impulse been operational at the time, they would have dodged it normally.

    But indeed, Starship not on the scale of a moon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soras Teva Gee View Post
    So I'm failing to see a significant improvement here.
    Never claimed it was an improvement. Just a new way to weaponize technology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by razark View Post
    When I say massive, I mean on the order of a small moon. Or a large moon. Navigational deflectors can't repel impacts of that magnitude.
    Even changing the physical constant of the universe, at least on a local scale, the Enterprise was barely able to toe an asteroid out of impacting a planet.
    Not to mention that replicating that much matter would take at least as much energy as would be contained in that much matter, even with Treknobabble.
    At least.
    Q could do it, but, he's Q.
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    Quote Originally Posted by razark View Post
    Trek tech can do one thing and one thing only. It can do "whatever the script calls for". That's the glory of fiction.
    If you meant to have "poorly written" in front of fiction, I agree.

    I'd point out, to help my Case, Deja Q, where the ship was barely able to alter the Moon's path. Certainly not able to do it while in combat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soras Teva Gee View Post
    Any exceptions to this are either irreproducible accidents (I think there's a TNG episode with one hologram exiting the holodeck)
    If you're referring to the second Moriarty episode ("Ship in a Bottle"), he actually didn't leave it. He set up the holodeck so that it looked like he and they were leaving it, but in fact they were still within it as part of a convoluted plan to trick Picard into revealing his command codes so he could take over the ship.

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    Default Re: The Greatest Weapon Never Used in Star Trek

    An early Holodeck episode had some
    Spoiler
    Show
    'Dixon Hill'
    villains leave the holodeck, but quickly dissolve away, less then a minute. It was rather creepy to be honest
    Last edited by Ravens_cry; 2012-04-12 at 01:13 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karoht View Post
    Transporter
    Teleport the Anti-Matter in the ship directly onto the bridge.
    Boom.
    Win.
    Voyager transported an armed photon torpedo into a Borg Sphere once...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    Not to mention that replicating that much matter would take at least as much energy as would be contained in that much matter, even with Treknobabble.
    I was told to ignore the lack energy/matter:
    Quote Originally Posted by DiscipleofBob View Post
    The energy and matter thing really isn't much of a problem because they're in space. There's random space particles and radiation that the Enterprise can feed off of.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tavar View Post
    If you meant to have "poorly written" in front of fiction, I agree.

    I'd point out, to help my Case, Deja Q, where the ship was barely able to alter the Moon's path. Certainly not able to do it while in combat.
    I'd like to point out that once you start throwing out the laws of physics, you can do anything. The laws of physics are broken a thousand different ways in every single episode. One week's writer says "Well, now the ship can do this." Next week's writer says "Well, now the crew has that machine." One series says "X cannot happen, it is not allowed in this universe." Another series comes along and says "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if they do X?" Consistency got better as the franchise progressed, but it's never been a high point.

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