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Fridge Brilliance

  • It's often stated that "grown food tastes better than replicated food". There are a number of theories about why this is, but the answer is really very simple and obvious: technology. While replicators CAN make anything, there is a limit to how many different things they can store. In DS9 its stated that the runabouts have a very limited menu(possibly on the order of only a few dozen dishes), and then on Voyager they have 15 different varieties of tomato soup but none is exactly what Tom Paris wanted. The replicator is affecting matter at at least a molecular level, allowing food to be customized to an insane degree. Want it a little saltier? A little sweeter? Just tweak a few lines of code. Now imagine this sort of editing goes on for decades, generations. A replicated apple now tastes nothing like a real apple. Somewhere along the way, everything that made it special was altered, optimized, or removed to save space.
    • In addition, replicated matter is said to have single-bit errors, which can probably affect how food tastes.
  • It is often questioned among fans how the rigidly-logical Vulcans can have a religion, whereas the emotional humans leans towards atheism. However, it is repeatedly emphasized in the various series that, no matter how much humans dislike this fact, "thought" does actually have a Clap Your Hands If You Believe power to influence reality in this universe. Especially the thoughts of those with Psychic Powers (like the Vulcans). The Vulcans may well have scientifically accepted this fact, and thus regard things like prayer as having actual power to potentially affect reality.
    • In real life people follow a religion or a faith for all sorts of reasons, (including, but not limited to logic and emotion), so to reduce it to those factors is not logical. People also reject religion and faith for various reasons, and everything in between. Why wouldn’t this be the case in Star Trek?
  • The similarity of aliens because of budgeting and time constraints is often mocked, however there is precedent for this in the real world, albeit on a much smaller scale, known as convergent evolution. Since most of the humanoid races come from planets with similar environments (M-class, in Star Trek's terminology), it makes them more likely to evolve similar features, especially after The Chase suggested that at least some of them share a deliberately engineered common ancestry.
  • At first, Star Trek appears to violate tactical logic by lacking any true examples of a Space Fighter, a standard among rival Space Opera settings Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, Farscape, Stargate, Andromeda, etc. After all, small, maneuverable fighter crafts can target a larger opponent's vulnerable points in ways a bigger ship can't. Then you realize Deflector Shields mean ships don't have weak points! The only way to defeat an opponent is by mustering enough force to overload their shields, making small ships all but useless in direct combat.
    • It's probably over-stating it to say energy shields are decisive in rendering starfighters ineffective (although they certainly effect the role starfights play in combat and how they are designed). Shields can be redirected to protect an area under the heaviest threat, leaving other areas partially or completely vulnerable. This can allow a heavier combatant to lay down fire against one section of the ship, drawing the defender's shields, while a fast maneuverable ship performs a flanking attack on the defender's exposed section. Remember too that energy shields are standard equipment for most ships in Star Wars, where starfighters play a big role in combat. Also, on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, we do see a number of smaller craft perform the role of starfighters during fleet engagements, though they're generally larger than an X-Wing or a Viper (and this isn't counting the Bajoran and Maquis resistance fighters, which were pretty much classic sci-fi starfighters). The absence of traditional starfighters from Star Trek can probably be attributed to the accuracy of weaponry, particularly phasers and disrupters. Being little just means you have less armor and a smaller powerplant with which to generate shields and power weapons, so the "fighters" of Star Trek are larger than those in franchises where less precise weaponary is the norm.
      • The Defiant misses more than any other Starfleet vessel on the show, this is probably due to the limited arc of her forward phasers. If you watch the battle between the Defiant and the USS Lakota in Paradise Lost, you'll see that Defiant misses her target several times, but the Lakota doesn't miss even once.
      • Fridge Brilliance to this: the Defiant-class was designed to battle the Borg, whose vessels are huge, and usually geometric shapes. Hitting something the size of a Borg cube or sphere does not require much accuracy. But the Defiant is probably the minimum size that current Starfleet technology could build a ship with weapons and shields strong enough to engage such a powerful target without being subject to One-Hit Kill.
    • Tell me what's easier to hit: 1 massive ship, or 1000 tiny ships attacking from all directions? In WWII, big ships did not have weak spots either, yet they still used bombers and torpedo planes to attack them. One German battleship took a huge number of hits just to get it to start sinking, and that took days to finish.
      • But ships are slowed down by water drag while aircraft are free from it. Despite what most science fiction implies, that doesn't apply in space. So a better analogy would be speedboats versus a battleship.
      • Real life: Taffey. In WW2, a destroyer group engaged the Japanese fleet and the Yamato to stall them long enough for the real Enterprise and her air wing.
      • Star Trek ships have been demonstrated to be far more maneuverable than ships in other franchises. The Enterprise-E is 700 meters long, and yet can maneuver quite well for a ship of its size. In addition, phasers can be deadly accurate, as the Enterprise-D was able to eliminate a squadron of fighter craft in about two seconds, without even so much as flinching.
      • The comment about WWII big ships not having week spots is absolutely incorrect. Ships like the Bismark had an armor belt around the ship. Anything above or below this belt was considerably weaker. That was the reason dive bombers and torpedo planes were used, they were able to hit above and below the armor belt to damage the deck and hull respectively. The critical shot that doomed the Bismark to be scuttled was a torpedo strike (from a torpedo plane) jamming the rudder (a weak spot) causing the ship to effectively go round in circles. I imagine that the limiting factor of fighters in the TOS was due to their inability to mount a warp drive on ships that small at that time. Without warp drive, fighters could only be used locally within a system, or off a carrier type vessel that would be vulnerable to attacks from starships and unable to effect a speedy withdrawal w/o abandoning their fighters.
      • Weakness is also relative. It's entirely possible that at that time it wasn't possible to fit a shuttle-sized craft with powerful enough weapons (or the support systems for those weapons) to get through a very large ship's very strong defences at any points. Remember the Defiant was mainly notable for being grossly overpowered for its frame, and doesn't appear to be engineered to the same "high" standard as other Federation ships. Type-X phaser arrays are absolutely huge, and torpedo bays can cover an entire deck.
      • Lets be honest as to the real world reason for a lack of fighter: The original series was A) on a ridiculously minimal budget and B) Star Trek first aired a good decade before Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica popularized the concept of a Space Aircraft Carrier. Come the latter series with bigger budgets and fighting the influence of these big franchises (which now also had Stargate and its fighters to contend with) the obvious answer was to keep the show firmly set in its roots. The amount of people that would have accused Trek of plagiarism if the Enterprise-E suddenly started launching their equivalent of X-Wings against the Borg Cube would still be going on today. It is also worth noting that the only canonical ship that I can think of that carried fighters was Shinzon's Warbird in Nemesis. Whether it was overconfidence or not is arguable but even when the battle was turning sour did he not think of launching them - proof perhaps that even a weakened Sovereign Class could swat them away like flies.
      • If you're arguing that groups of smaller, combat-oriented ships can overwhelm larger, cruiser-types, then we've already seen that: both the Klingon Birds of Prey and the Jem'Hadar attack ships remain consistent threats throughout the series, able to threaten ships like the Galaxy class or Romulan Warbirds. But if you're saying that a bunch of shuttlecraft-sized ships can be fielded in large enough numbers to be useful, that's doubtful. This page and this page has a good explanation as to why fighters are impractical in space.
  • At first, the absence of any form of data corruption attacks in Star Trek struck me as a kind of Zeerust element that had crept into the show over time: computer viruses were entirely unknown in the 1960's, but the casual viewer today might wonder why someone doesn't try to hack the Enterprise (or the Enterprise crew try to hack a Klingon ship, etc.) But in reality any race advanced enough to build starships with AI-capable computers and has reason to fear its neighbors likely also has strong enough security to render these attacks either ineffective or easily reversed (by contrast, take the reboot of Battlestar Galactica, where the Cylon attack on the humans hinged around their being able to exploit a backdoor in the Colonial defense network created by one of their agents. The mothballed Galactica's lack of a modern computer network is the only reason it survives). Oddly enough, this has the result of TOS appearing to have stronger computer security than its successors (particularly in episodes where the ship/Data/etc. get hacked by an outside entity). —Snarf
    • There is some hacking in Star Trek, but it usually involves either a more advanced alien race, or physical access to the computer they want to mess with. In normal battle situations, the computers probably just refuse to execute any code being transmitted by an enemy ship. —Dr Lunar
    • Let's not forget the use of a (rather flimsy) prefix code that allowed Spock to hack into the Reliants command console to lower it's shields.
    • There is an episode of TNG ('Contagion') where an alien probe infects the Enterprise's computer with a virus that gradually disrupts all its systems. The Chief Engineer seems to take most of the episode trying to figure out what's going on, and then trying various ridiculously convoluted efforts to combat it- before eventually deciding to just wipe it clean and restore the computer from backups. This solution is presented as if it's some kind of revelation, rather than being the first, most obvious thing anyone would do in that situation. i.e., cyber attacks are portrayed badly or not at all in the series because the writers had very little technical knowledge and assumed that their audience would have even less. In 1989 that was probably a reasonable assumption.
    • Phasers are (except in the new movie, due to the change from beam and the implied two-mode limitation) a perfect parallel to the Federation's tendencies for ship design: very multipurpose (Starfleet's ships tend to be made for exploration, but due to the nature of the Star Trek universe that ends up meaning ships that can do a lot of things decently, with crews that can do a lot of things decently. Phasers, over the course of the franchise, are shown to be able to be used for everything from cutting to heating, in addition to the multiple settings actually intended for combat).

  • Though probably just a product of confused writers, some of the oddities in the Voyager characters do make perfect sense. Maybe midway through the series, Chakotay is suddenly always counseling Janeway about the consequences of her plans, and is distrustful of Seven of Nine; this all being after Seska's betrayal. Seven's attraction to Chakotay in later seasons seemed sudden to a lot of viewers, her only explanation being, "The Commander has... admirable qualities." Seven, at this point, is trying hard to become as human as she can, and who's the most un-Borg person on the ship? Chakotay. It's only a shame the writers didn't explore these ideas more deeply in the actual show.
  • Star Trek writers don't seem to get evolution, always portraying it wrongly. But, although IRL it would be wrong, evolution in star trek is merely consistent. All potential evolution lines are hardwired into a species' DNA, with the actual circumstances determining how it ends up. This realization actually makes every plot involving evolution make sense.
  • The Borg are often criticized for attacking the Federation with only one cube (and trying it twice), while at the same time doing things against humanity that they do not do against other species (messing around with time travel, trying to "seduce" people like Locutus of Borg and Seven of Nine to rejoin the Collective, etc.) However, the Borg are not actually interested in humanity. Like the Kazon, humanity is described as inferior and its technology pales before the Collective's. However, the Borg ARE interested in Q. Q first brought them into the line of sight of a Borg cube, and saved them right as they were about to be assimilated. The Borg want to know more about Q (since being semi-omnipotent puts you pretty high on the Collective wishlist) but at the same time they know they can't fight Q directly and thus want to cut their losses by only sending one cube at a time. The Borg, in a sense, are right that doing things like traveling through time and picking specific human representatives attract Q's attention, if the game Star Trek: Borg is to be believed.
    • There's an alternate possibility, one that can amp up the Fridge Horror of the matter. The Borg can't innovate. It's one of their biggest flaws. Their advancement depends on the advancement of the species that they assimilate, the knowledge that they gain in the process of assimilation. They send a single cube against Earth not because they're actively attempting to assimilate the Federation at this time, but because they're FORCING the Federation to develop new ideas and technologies and use them against them. Once they reach a point where the Borg can handle anything the Federation throws at them, they'll finish the job and be all the stronger for it, with the new technologies, theories, and ideas that the Federation has developed to counter the Borg.
      • The Borg innovate all the time, it's how their "adaptation" works. They're often shown using traditional scanning and analysis techniques. (Seriously, the idea that the Borg have to assimilate to gain knowledge is one of the most spectacularly incoherent things Voyager ever threw out; you pretty much have to ignore it if you want them to make sense.)
      • Not exactly. Drone/ship adaptation can be programmed in and simply be a latent capability rather than a conscious innovative intelligence. It's not like drones are very smart otherwise. (See: the bit in First Contact where they defend the deflector dish beacon one at a time, probably because they never needed to and thus were never programmed for zero-gee combat where being pushed away from the 'ground' neutralizes you. Or most episodes with drones in combat.) Also, Voyager doesn't ever try establish that the Borg only gain knowledge from assimilation - it actually specifically contradicts it by establishing drone classes (medical, tactical, repair) and the Queens. The Queens are the innovators.
    • Then again, there is definitely a Humans Are Special vibe throughout the franchise. Q mentioned that one day in the distant future, humanity would surpass the Q Continuum. One of Soval's lines in Star Trek: Enterprise (one of the last before his death) mentions how humans can be as warlike and emotional as the Klingons or Andorians one moment, and then turn around and use cold hard logic the next. The Bajoran Prophets, a race of omnipotent energy beings that exist outside of normal time, specifically created a human to serve as their emissary to a completely different race. The Borg realize this quality of humans, which is why they sent a cube thousands of light years outside their territory, twice, in order to assimilate this quality. Problem is, assimilating the physical body doesn't assimilate the humanity. That has a great deal to do with why the Borg Queen tries to get a fully individual human to work for her.
    • Several theories about the Borg's creation from licensed non-canon works mention the crew of an ENT era ship being integrated into a neural network and becoming the first drones, while others mention the V'Ger entity being involved in the Borg's creation. According to these, humans might actually be the origin species of the Borg.
  • So why, despite being warned by Kes in Before and After, do the Voyager crew completely forget about the Krenim by the time of Year of Hell? Simple. Anorax did it. It is stated that he had been manipulating time for over 200 years; and had probably altered it a good dozen times between the two episodes. The Voyager that took centre stage during Before and After is a completely different ship to the one featured in Year of Hell. This also explains the disappearance of Species 8472 and Seven of Nine.
  • A little bit of Fridge Horror in the backstory of Star Trek: There was a Third World War, and it was devastating on a global scale, killing half a billion people and ending most formal governments on the planet. And it's a "future" war. It hasn't happened yet. As optimistic as the Trek universe is, it still predicts a horrible end to everything we know and love, and further it seems to imply that it needs to happen. The post-apocalyptic dark age is the kick in the pants the human race needs to start building a better society. Things do get better, but they have to get a lot worse first...and everything about 21st-century society has to die for it to work.
    • Then again, in the history of the Trek verse, we've all already lived through the Eugenics Wars, so maybe that Third World War should be taken with a grain of salt.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series
    • In "The Slaver Weapon" the titular weapon is retrieved from a stasis box along with a picture of an unknown alien Spock and Sulu presume to be one of the long-vanished Slavers. Sulu later speculates that the versatile nature of the weapon, combined with its complete lack of visible controls and self-destruct ability, makes it an ideal weapon for a spy. Although the Standards and Practices of 1970's children's television would never have permitted saying so in the script, the presentation of both the weapon and picture in the same box suggest that it was an assassin's weapon, and the picture that of the assassin's target.
  • Fridge Horror: When the holodeck is first introduced, it is made explicitly clear that its characters are not sentient: Troi and other telepaths cannot sense them (then again, she also can't sense Data). Moriarty is the first exception, and he is presumed to be unique. But by the time the Doctor is introduced on Voyager and Vic Fontaine on Deep Space Nine, it is clear that all holodeck characters are sentient, or at least will become sentient if they're left running long enough. That means that all over the Federation, ordinary people are constantly creating, murdering, editing, resurrecting, and duplicating sentient beings with no more moral consideration than you'd give to a sheet of paper out of a printer. And that's just people with clean fantasies, and not porn and gorn-filled ones. The Voyager episode "Author, Author" finally starts to address this, but does it in the most tepid way possible and treats the whole thing almost as a joke. All the Fantastic Aesops about Data's rights become meaningless when you realize the Federation is filled with A.I.'s, and nearly all of them are considered as disposable as Kleenex.
    • That's the sentient/nonsentient distinction (as well as programming blocks in the case of holodeck characters that the doctor lacks, so holodeck characters normally can't see/hear the archway, or if someone in the holodeck gets called on the comm system, which the EMHs lack due to being intended to replace actual crewmembers). The doctor in the first episode couldn't really be considered sentient when first activated, while leaving a holodeck running for ages has its own problems, as seen in Voyager. It's the same as the exocomps seen in TNG - if given enough time/opportunity they may, but they aren't by definition.
    • But are the simulations in the holodeck distinct individuals, or merely avatars of the holodeck computer? Voyager's Doctor was on an independent system from the holodeck, one dedicated to medical emergencies, so in a way the only difference between him and Data is the presence of a physical body. Moriarity in TNG could be explained as a programming glitch (albeit one that was eventually locked away into his own storage medium—effectively a pocket universe for him). The others—just subroutines, and the computer itself could terminate them if bandwidth becomes scarce.
    • It's discovered on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that the holographic lounge singer Vic has a puzzle written into its programming as a "surprise" for his user. After a given amount of operating time, holographic gangsters will kill Vic unless his user intervenes. When Bashir tries to get this disabled he is basically laughed at, even though Vic is clearly sentient by this point (he can even turn his own program on when deactivated). It's made crystal clear that Vic has no rights as a sentient being whatsoever.
      • DS9 is a unique case, in that the Federation is working with ex-Cardassian hardware. How the Cardassians treat their A.I.s is probably no different than how they treat each other.
    • It doesn't necessarily follow that every holodeck character is sentient, or potentially sentient. The Doctor and Vic were both described as unusually sophisticated programs.
    • The average hologram isn't sentient, they're mostly 3D video game characters, and are specifically designed with perceptual filters to make sure they don't become self-aware. Some of them, like the Doctor, are both self-aware and adaptive, so they can become sentient, but only if they are left running long enough, and even then it's not guaranteed. The Doctor’s emergence into sentience almost destroyed him, and they had to sacrifice the dedicated maintenance program to keep him from completely breaking down, and that could have failed. On the whole, holograms that aren't specifically designed to be people have about as much potential to become people as a sperm sample.
  • Fridge Horror: Humans are not shown practicing any religion because Gene Roddenberry envisioned a future where humans had Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions. From the point of view a minority religion whose people had been historically oppressed and persecuted, this means that Roddenberry’s utopian future is built on cultural genocide.
  • Why would a Proud Warrior Race who put Honour Before Reason use the primarily defensive Bat'leth as their weapon of choice? There's no honour in winning a battle through luck, therefore they use a weapon designed to make a fight last and so give a better chance of the outcome being fair!
  • Each spacefaring race has a distinct style in their ship design (notably, the Klingons and Romulans both model their starships after birds of prey). There is something amusing in the fact that the humans seem to be the only ones who insist on traveling in Flying Saucers. Especially since there was at least one instance of a Federation starship accidentally time-traveling to 20th century Earth and abducting someone.
  • Klingons are said to get drunk a lot less easier than humans. As it turns out, they have two livers, so that makes perfect sense.
    • Not exactly. Two livers would imply that their metabolisms can filter out intoxicants (about) twice as fast, but even that would be slow on the grand scale and not really noticable to an outside observer. However, Klingons are hilariously overbuilt, with a few more redundancies than other humanoids. It would make total sense if those redundancies included more neurotransmitters and receptors, which *would* offset higher levels of alcohol.
    • It would also make them more sensitive to certain stimuli, which explains why all their structures use darker colors and poor illumination (by human standards).
  • Why do the Ferengi have such big, sensitive ears? Ferenginar is in a constant state of rainfall, which means there's a lot of background noise at any given moment. Proto-Ferengi probably had to get them so they could pick up on small noises that would otherwise be drowned out (heh) by the constant rain, and thus not get caught unawares by predators.
    • Ferengi women are shown to have much smaller ears than Ferengi men; this might go a ways toward explaining their Stay in the Kitchen mentality and how it survived up to their space age.
  • The way Ferengi pronounces the word "Female" puts a strong emphasis on the first syllable, making it sound like two distinct words (FEE-male). Given that Ferengi women cannot earn profit, the male head of household would shoulder their living expenses, making them a 'fee' for a 'male'.


  • In Star Trek: Generations when the Klingons have taken Geordi prisoner and he is being interrogated, Soran asks if Geordi ever considered a prosthetic to make him look more "normal", and Geordi sarcastically asks, "What's normal?" to which Soran replies, "Normal, Mr. La Forge, is what everybody else is, and you are not." At first I thought this was just an insult directed at Geordi, until I saw the wisdom Soran was showing - everyone has personal quirks and problems which makes them feel abnormal compared to everyone else who doesn't have them. They just don't realize that the people they are comparing themselves to also have other quirks and problems that make them feel abnormal. i.e. from any one person's point of view, everybody else is normal and that person is not. However, even though this would seem to imply that people shouldn't worry about being normal, Geordi obviously didn't understand this, as in Star Trek: First Contact, he had gotten a prosthetic to make himself look more "normal".
    • Actually I came to the conclusion instantly upon seeing Geordi in First Contact, that he had gotten the ocular implants, because he was guilty and taking steps to correct his mistakes. Earlier in the series, in the second season in fact, Dr. Pulaski had asked Geordi as to why he didn't already have ocular implants. He said he was afraid he would lose the incredible vision the VISOR grants, with being able to see almost the entire EM spectrum. But in Generations when he was captured, the Klingons used him to spy on the Enterprise's vital systems. Seeing as how his VISOR was used to successfully destroy the Enterprise-D, I imagine he wanted to avoid that ever happening in the future. And this was the second time his VISOR was used against him; the first time, someone actually used it to brainwash him into being an assassin.
      • Bookverse canon provides a interesting slant on this: it's Starfleet Command that's unhappy with the vulnerabilities of Geordi's VISOR, and they're not going to leave him in his current critical position unless he gets rid of it.
      • It just hit me: Geordi said he didn't want ocular implants because of their limitations in 2365, but had ocular in "First Contact" which is set in 2373. Technology probably improved in that time frame to make implants a much better option.- Otakukun
    • Also, Geordi has always had a special relationship with technology. His best friend is Data, as a result of this mentality. This is also shown when he falls for a hologram. I think the idea of having his eyes upgraded, and more integrated into his body would have been appealing for him.
      • This troper is going back to re-watch all the Borg episodes for Geordi's points of view. Especially the one with Hugh.
      • Us tropers are apparently not the first to notice this. In the novel Vendetta by Peter David, the crew recover an assimilated human woman and attempt to restore her humanity. Three guesses who tries hardest to bond with her...
  • Kirk's overt reaction to Spock on the bridge, and Spock's flight to Gol in the first place, in Star Trek: The Motion Picture never quite made sense to me, until I heard a theory that Something Of A Romantic Nature had happened between them after the end of the five-year mission. That's what sent Spock fleeing to a place centered around purging all emotion. That's why Kirk looks like the sun has just come out for the first time in years when Spock shows up. And that scene in Sickbay, with Spock's admission of "this simple feeling"? That was them getting back together... for good. Thank you, The Ship's Closet.
    • In the novelization of ST:TMP, Kirk muses (in an author's Take That! to the early slash fiction of the 70s) that he'd heard rumors of that sort, but that they were flatly untrue as he was only attracted to females.

  • The transition from sneaky, underhanded TOS-era Klingons to an honor-bound Proud Warrior Race in TNG-era is jarring to many people, to say the least. But then, you have to take into account that most information on TNG-era Klingons is heard from Worf. Worf, who was orphaned at a young age, rescued, and raised in a culture radically different from his own - of course he idolizes and glorifies his original culture. Duras and Chancellor Gowron go to great lengths to demonstrate that the Klingons are as sneaky, underhanded, and backstabbing as ever.
    • Worf probably got most of his information about Klingon culture second-hand from humans and books; never really having any practical education from other Klingons. Seems like there's a good chance that, having never really known any other Klingons growing up, his idea of Klingons is an idealized one pieced together from whatever source material he could find.
    • Besides, he grew up as the only Klingon amongst (probably racist, based on human nature and what we've seen in the show) humans. It makes perfect sense that he'd try to be the best Klingon he could possibly be.
  • A bit of a mind screw here but considering Universe-2 now knows the fate of Romulus, you can bet they are planing to save it and have a few decades and Original!Spock to perfect Red Matter, which means Universe-2 Nero could wind up the greatest ally of the Federation for saving Romulus!
    • Assuming that Nero is even born in Universe-2, and assuming that the Hobus "supernova" was a natural event...
  • Here's an interesting one from the Undiscovered Country. How could Valeris have quoted Kirk's famous outburst of let them all die (just before her Mind Rape) if he was alone with Spock during the whole conversation. Take a closer look at that scene: just out of shadow behind the giant glass Starfleet logos there is indeed a woman standing there and listening to every single word they say. But what makes this Valeris and not just some random person? Spock was training her as a protege - of course he would have brought her along to his historic meeting at Starfleet Command. All she needed to do was quietly slip in (maybe with help from one of the crooked Admirals if her security clearance wasn't high enough) and no one would be any the wiser.
    • How did the Klingon Jailer know which of the two Kirk's to shoot? the shape shifter had removed her leg cuffs whilst Kirk hadn't. Knowing full well that neither of them could have broken free; he logically shot the one person in the entire prison who could have slid out of those restraints.
  • After the breakup of the Narada, when the Enterprise is trying to escape the black hole, the ship is losing ground in the attempt, even though at maximum warp she should be tearing across the cosmos. A few months after watching the movie, it hit me why: When the port nacelle was struck earlier in the film by the wreckage of the Mayflower's saucer, it started a creeping damage burnout in the Enterprise's warp nacelles. After the last jump from Titan to the Narada's position, the warp coils were in such bad shape they could barely even hold Warp 1, let alone the speeds the Enterprise SHOULD be capable of.
    • Actually, it was more like they were pushing the engines to their limit, and should have thusly been going at high warp, but the sheer gravitational pull of the "black hole" was so strong that it overwhelmed what the ship could do. The only option was to seal the anomaly so as to remove what was holding them there — and in so doing, they shot forward because they were now unimpeded from travelling at warp speed (not simply because the explosion threw them free).
      • Except that "warp drive" has been mathematically "proved" not to work that way. To Warp, the space in front of the ship is put into a "pocket" like a billiard table pocket, and the space behind the ship is expanded, and once the ship moves, the pocket un pockets itself where the ship was, and this is "why a ship cant go to warp near a planet/ singularity" because the thing that's there, by it's nature, cant be pocketed. in TMP, the Enterprise cruises away by impulse to "empty" space. In Voyage Home, the Bird of Prey goes to warp in Earth's atmosphere. According to the science we have now, Earth would have gone into the pocket, and been destroyed... as well as ships going to warp in JJ Trek. Artistic Licence, sure, but JJ had a real science advisor for the movie.
  • What about the equation of transwarp beaming? Doesn't that knowledge give Starfleet ridiculous power? Even in the 24th century, transwarp anything seems to provide a devastating advantage.
    • Transwarp probably has some disadvantages. the first time it was used in the new timeline, Scotty nearly died. It is also important to remember that at most at it was used to transport two people at a time. In all likelihood, transwarp was not practical even in the TNG era.
  • Another bit of Fridge Brilliance: In the various alternate futures featured in the the various series, it is never implied that the planet Romulus existed past 2387. Indeed, the TNG Episode "All Good Things" implies something had happened to the Romulan Empire.

  • For years, I'd been confused about a line in Star Trek: Generations. When Picard first meets Soren, Soren wants to get back to the outpost. Picard stonewalls him for a while, and Soren becomes more insistent. Picard continues to stonewall, and Soren says "They say time is the fire in which we burn." Picard is visibly affected by this and has an immediate change of heart. Now, we know why Picard is affected by this (His brother and nephew just burned to death in a fire.), but did Soren know about that, and if so, how? My first thought was that Soren had something to do with it. However, upon examination, that doesn't hold up. Soren is only just meeting Picard, and prior to this, his entire life has been dedicated to his quest. He would have no reason to look up Picard or do anything that would affect Picard. So, no... Soren wasn't involved in it. After dismissing that theory, I just figured that it was a coincidence that happened to fall his way. Coincidences do happen. But then, just yesterday, something clicked in my head. What is Soren? El-Aurian. Who's the other El-Aurian we know? Guinan. What's Guinan said her about her race? They're a race of listeners. Where did Picard find Soren? 10 Forward. What's 10 Forward? A social area for off-duty officers. What happens in off-duty places, like bars? Gossip. Putting this all together, I realized that we're finally seeing the evil side of this gift. Guinan uses the gift as a friend and therapist. Soren uses it to manipulate and extort for his own gain. He's been taken away from his experiments, and wants to get back. He knows Picard is the one who can get him back where he wants. So, he goes to 10 Forward and covertly listens to the conversations of the crew. Picard's issue has obviously entered the gossip grapevine somehow, people are talking about it, and Soren's particularly listening for information about Picard. He hears this tidbit and realizes he can use it to get an upper hand in his conversation with Picard.

  • There was one I saw on the page for Star Trek Online (before the YMMV and Fridge pages were split): A lot of complaints about the game were about how The Federation had become more warlike than in the show and the books. HOWEVER, the roots of this can be seen as far back as TNG, with the aftermath of Wolf 359 and the Dominion War in DS9.

  • Here's a piece of Fridge Horror depending on what view you take about the events of Insurrection: What's to say the Federation or a similar power never went back to murder/relocate the Ba'Ku at a later date? I think I don't need to explain just how much controversy there is surrounding the fact Picard chose to side with 300 people who had no right to be there over improving the lives of billions. Obviously they hadn't by the time of Nemesis but a certain event known as the destruction of Romulus by a supernova a few years later may have made the Federation reconsider. Remember that the potential for war here from the resulting power vacumn is ridiculously large and would have been greater than the Dominion war in terms of threat to Earth due to the the Romulans being directly on our doorstep as opposed to the Dominion who only managed a single attack directly against Sector 001. Combine that with the political sore spot that would be the fact the Federation now possesses a weapon a hundred times stronger than the Genesis device (the Red Matter) and the fact the Romulans may have managed to obtain the plans to Shinzon's revolutionary cloaking device and/or Thaloron radiation weapon at some point; we have a situation where suddenly the ability to heal all sickness, disease and injury among the war weary population of the Federation suddenly sounds like a fantastic proposition. Oh and Picard approaching retirement would also take any danger posed by the Enterprise E out of the equation too.
    • The Baku had every right to be there, it's their home planet. What the admiral was doing in Insurrection was ridiculously illegal by Federation standards, his only real hope was to present the advancements to the Federation as a done deal, and brush away any questions about how he did it. Picard leads the titular insurrection because, given where the planet is located, long-range communication is all but impossible, and by the time the Enterprise gets out, tells Starfleet what's going on, and gets help, it'll be too late. The Baku are protected under Federation law, they should be in no danger.

  • The Star Trek Reboot timeline has changes from the original timeline that couldn't have been caused by Nero or Spock's time-travelling (e.g. the design of the Kelvin, which doesn't fit with the Federation's aesthetics from that time period.). But, actually, there is a good explanation for this: Because of the change in the timeline, the events of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek: First Contact happened differently, causing the changes they caused to the timeline to be different, causing things in the timeline to change even before Nero's appearance. This, and other time-travelling could cause minor changes to the timeline, which could add up and explain the differences between the original timeline and the reboot timeline.
    • Explains why the Department of Temporal Investigations people are so sticky about time travel. Ripples from a temporal event can move not only forwards, but backwards, either just by virtue of a Timey-Wimey Ball or because one temporal event alters others that were initiated later but occurred earlier.
  • I came to this Fridge Brilliance when I was comparing the various villains across both the series and the twelve movies to date and I realized something: Soran from Generations is by far the most accomplished of the lot. More than Khan, more than the Borg, more than even the Dominion. Because unlike all of them; Soran is the only enemy so far to have directly killed both the a main character (Kirk) and destroy the hero starship (the Enterprise D) and made it stick ie no amount of Timey-Wimey Ball or technobabble or other miracle brings them back to life again either at the end of the episode/movie or at any other time in the franchise. For example, the original Khan killed Spock but was resurrected a film later; The Breen destroyed the Defiant but none of the main crew died; Shinzon killed Data but couldn't destroy the Enterpise E etc. No one else has ever circumvented the Reset Button to the same level as him meaning that, even if he isn't the most dangerous or the most threatening, he is certainly the bad guy who has had most impact on the franchise as a whole.
  • So why did they cut out the Rura Penthe scenes? It leaves a glaring plot hole as to just what Nero was doing in the interim. Viewing the deleted scenes reveals why: Someone apparently forgot to tell JJ that Rura Penthe is supposed to be a big ball of ice where it's freakin' cold even underground in the prison itself, and the scenes as shot involve Nero sweltering bare-backed as he slaves away. Glaring plot hole or glaring plot inconsistency... not a fun choice.
    • Either Rura Penthe has very long and extreme seasons or they were imprisoned very deep within the mine?
  • A nice bit of Fridge Brilliance from Star Trek Into Darkness: It took this troper a while to figure out why the planet in the opening sequence was named "Nibiru". Nibiru is the theoretical name for a rogue planet that the government is supposedly hushing up, due to its imminent collision with Earth. The connection doesn't become apparent until you remember that the movie's release date was pushed back to summer 2013 from late 2012.
    Kirk: Nice going, Spock! We just saved the world!
  • In the prime timeline, Kirk was born in Riverside, Iowa, and the Enterprise was "born" in space (in Earth's orbit, to be precise.) And in the timeline created by the Narada incident? It's exactly the other way around!
  • Whatever happened to that cloaking device that the TOS crew steals from the Romulans in one episode? Scotty manages to use it to cloak the Enterprise so I'm assuming it shouldn't be too hard for him or other Federation engineers to make copies of that device and install them in other Federation ships. However, the fact that the Enterprise has the ability to cloak and that the crew stole a cloaking device that can be reverse engineered is never mentioned again throughout the entire franchise. Even though there are countless films and TV episodes where it would be incredibly helpful for the main characters to have a cloaking device, especially since they are constantly at odds with other species who possess cloaking technology.
    • In both TNG and DS9 it's mentioned that the Federation has a treaty with the Romulans prohibiting the Federation developing or using cloaking devices, however it's never said when the Treaty was signed, so it's possible it was signed shortly after this episode. Also figuring out how the device works and building your own is not the same thing as figuring out how to turn it on (unless I'm misremembering, all Scotty does is figure out how to plug it into the Enterprise's systems). Think of it like this - you know how to fuel a car, turn it on and drive it, but not everyone knows the exact details of how the engine works, let alone be able to build one from scratch. Now obviously this isn't a perfect analogy as Star Fleet engineers have far more training/education in such matters than the average person trying to reverse engineer a car, but it could still take them time and in that time the treaty could have been signed. And even if they could perfectly replicate the device without understanding the exact science behind it, maybe Federation Health and Safety would prevent them being employed until they do, giving further time in which the treaty could be signed. And on top of this, the. Enterprise often operates on the frontier, away from where Federation cloaking devices would be developed/built meaning that even if they were going into full scale production prior to the treaty, the Enterprise may not have made it back to be fitted for one before the treaty got signed. Also, unless I'm misremembering, the episode in question happened in the third season; in universe there are nearly ten years between season 3 ending and The Motion Picture meaning that in that time Federation starships might have operated with cloaking devices and the treaty got signed while the Enterprise was being refitted. Yet another also, we don't know how cloaking devices operate; for all we know they require special crystals/metals/etc that are only found on worlds controlled by the Romulans and Klingons meaning that even if the Federation could figure everything out, they wouldn't be able to build any until they got hold of such materials (and considering the hostility between those three powers, it would be hard for them to do so legally until after The Undiscovered Country.)
      • We actually do have a rough date for the treaty you are referring to (the Treaty of Algeron is indicated as 'having kept the peace for sixty years' in 2370, indicating it was signed some time around 2310, well after the TOS movies), but it is entirely possible that similar if less stringent provisions were part of earlier agreements (after all, in the early 2290s Federation-Romulan relations were decent enough that the Romulan ambassador could sit in on some Starfleet briefings not directly related to the Romulan Star Empire), or that Starfleet simply had decided to prioritise detecting cloaked ships (if you can hit it, after all, a cloaked ship until the Scimitar is in worse state than a non-cloaked one) over putting cloaking devices in Starfleet vessels.

  • Meta Brilliance: The Space Shuttle Enterprise, manufactured 1976, was named for the fictional USS Enterprise from the Original Series from the '60s. Then in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), the recreation deck has a progression of paintings of ships to bear the name... including the Space Shuttle. We got us a causality loop, people!

  • Fridge Horror: If you look more deeper into the Planetof Hats races in Trek, you would be truly horrified that these aliens are aspects of human psychology and social-actions. These races, like the Vulcans; are fucking Tulpas!!! And worse, humans gave birth to existence to them with no awareness.