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     Station Design 
  • This is probably nitpicking in the extreme but - what is up with the station design? The landing pads work fine, but the other docking ports are mystifying. The docking ring - why are the ports recessed? The Pylons - why are they oriented inwards? Perhaps it has something to do with the shield grid, but recessed ports would limit what kinds of craft can fit into those slots and inward-facing pylons limit the ultimate size of craft that can dock there as well as increasing the chance of collision between arriving/departing craft.
    • Since the station was built to process ore, its reasonable that much of the actual processing happens in the pylons. Raw ore is brought to a pylon, processed, then the finished product is loaded onto a ship on the docking ring. The reason the pylons face inward is because in the original design it was not planned they would ever use more than one at a time. Ship arrived, unloads its ore, moves on, another ship unloads at another. You would never need to use 2 at the same time because they are full of ore being processed.
    • Alien Geometries at it's finest. Since the station was designed and built by the Cardassians, it probably made sense to them.
    • To be honest a more pressing question is: why is it so small? Or rather, why is a station so small so important when the Federation can churn out things hundreds of times that size? The actual size of the station makes sense in terms of its original purpose as a mining and command platform, but it's far too small. Bajor still owns the place but Starfleet runs and defends the station.
    • The Cardassians probably didn't plan on having non-Cardassian ships dock at Terok Nor with any frequency. It could also be that there are retractable gondolas that extend from the docking ring to accommodate larger ships. Collisions are probably not that common if you can have a Galaxy-class ship maneuverable enough to fly through the doors of Earth's Spacedock. As for why Starfleet didn't build another station, remember that DS9 is owned by Bajor and the Wormhole is in their space. It's likely political and economic reasons that made Bajor insist that the gateway to the Gamma Quadrant would be a Bajoran-owned station and thus reject any Starfleet proposal to build a station of their own.
    • We saw in the pilot that the upper pylons are far enough apart for the Enterprise D to dock with them, and there are precious few ships in the Trek universe larger than a Galaxy-class.
    • Here on Earth, we built the Panama Canal to be wide enough to accommodate the largest ship at the time it was built. In DS9, the Cardassians built Terok Nor to accommodate the largest ship they had available when it was built. And, as noted, if it's big enough for a Galaxy Class, it's big enough for pretty much anything in the Next Gen universe.
      • It should be noted that the station was scaled up or down throughout the series depending on the shot. So it maybe big enough for the Enterprise-D or a Nebula-class at times, but at others it certainly didn't look it.
      • That is understandable, but the inward facing nature of the Pylons would still increase the chances of a collision or damage from engine exhaust. Turned outwards, the docked ships would have all of space's infinite vastness to maneuver in. Perhaps it has to do with balancing the station.
      • Could be to do with defense. The station was in hostile territory during the occupation after all. Having the big ships dock within the inward pylons would keep them within the stations shields more easily, and within the station's sphere of control. It would also keep the big ships out of the line of outward fire too.
    • I don't know if this would be canon, but this image shows that Cardassian ships fit the docking ports pretty well. More seriously, Terok Nor was a simple ore processing station designed specifically for Cardassian ships; I doubt the designers were overly concerned with accommodating non-Cardassians.
      • Could the pylons have been designed with the idea that a large freighter could park in between the pylons and be loaded with processed ore by more than one at a time? I recently saw an episode—I can't recall which one—with a closeup shot of one of the docking ports on an upper pylon, and there does seem to be a piece that looks like it's meant to extend and retract. It's possible that they contain some sort of conveyor system, and can extend far enough to connect to even a relatively small cargo ship parked somewhere in between all three.
    • Why do there appear to be docking bay/airlock style doors right off the promenade? This is the central core of the station and the nearest place a ship can park is the habitat ring and only if they're using a landing pad. People go through these doors all the time as if they just walked right on or off a ship.
    • Going back to the question of why the Federation didn't replace DS9 with a larger, more advanced, and more standardized station when it became clear how important the wormhole was, it probably comes down to politics. The Bajorans had just thrown off Cardassian occupation, so while they needed Federation help, they were uneasy about the prospect of becoming a de facto Federation colony and a significant faction opposed even the limited amount of Federation presence they did allow. Remember, according to Kira in the pilot, they can't even agree that their government is a government which is why they always preface it with "provisional"; everything about the situation is very tentative. By the time the Bajorans had gotten chummy enough with the Feds that they might have been able to give them the okay to put in a much larger station with a much larger Starfleet presence without causing rioting in the streets, there was a war on, so arming what they already had to the teeth probably made more logistical sense than diverting enough resources and manpower to replace it and enough ships to defend both the system and supply lines during construction.
      • This theory might be supported by the seemingly complete lack of Starfleet facilities or personnel on the planet surface. In both TOS and TNG, we've seen that when Starfleet has a space station near a planet, there tends to be a corresponding planet-side facility. Even after the station is moved a significant distance from Bajor—far enough away that a commuter shuttle trip between DS9 and Bajor takes a couple hours—however, there doesn't seem to be even a single member of Starfleet based on the planet's surface. As devastated as the Cardassians left the planet and its people, one would expect that the Bajorans would be eager to have federation hospitals to provide medical relief, and the Starfleet equivalent of the Army Corps of Engineers to help rebuild vital infrastructure and mitigate the ecological damage, yet they're conspicuously absent throughout the series.
      • You really didn't pay attention. Throughout the series it's made very clear that the Cardassian occupation made Bajorans very wary about having occupying forces on their planet. And while Starfleet would not be there as an occupying force, having a bunch of non-Bajorans walking around in uniforms would have escalated tensions way too high. Bajor basically had to join the Federation before any amount of Starfleet presence on the planet would have been even slightly acceptable.
      • If you read the previous two entries a little more carefully, you'll notice that's actually the exact point that they were making: Starfleet didn't replace the station with something better because doing so would be politically unacceptable to the Bajorans, and pointing out the lack of any Starfleet presence on Bajor's surface as evidence to support that theory. Both also based their extrapolations on observations about the subtext of Bajor's relationship with the Federation, proving that the tropers were, in fact, paying attention.
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     Beam me to the next star system, Scotti'klan! 
  • "Covenant" confirms that the Dominion has transporter technology that can transport somebody multiple light years (as presumably Dukat did with himself earlier in "Tears of the Prophet"... this may also solve the question of what happened to Eris at the end of "The Jem'hadar"). I realize that the franchise often ducks the bigger implications of transporter technology (and also that the maximum beaming distance is a matter of great inconsistency), but that sounds like a huge technological advantage — almost enough to make space travel redundant! Why use a troop transport ship when you could just beam troops away while sitting comfortably in your home base? Why lug cargo around when you could just transport it? Sure, there may be explanations as to why this technology needs to be used sparingly (perhaps it's super-duper energy intensive), but all the same, reaction to it is surprisingly blasé. I would think that Starfleet would immediately go "go to get our hands on that!"
    • Indeed, the maximum transporter range is given in TNG as 40 000 km. That wouldn't even be enough to transport a person from Earth to the moon... only about a tenth of the way. The Dominion transporters, if they can cover three light years thanks to a "homing transporter" Hand Wave, have a range about 137 million times farther than those of Federation transporters. I would say that's quite a technology gap!
    • That Ferengi that hated Picard had a transporter system with similar range, it was just horribly dangerous. The Dominion obviously worked out the kinks. The technology gap isn't that big. Besides, three light-years isn't that much. The distance between solar systems is greater. The best they could do is invade systems while hanging at the outer rim, and Federation sensor technology has been shown to detect things well in excess of that.
      • We have it on "Covenant's" authority that the Bajoran system and wherever Empok Nor is are less than three light years apart (true, this is awfully close in real-world stellar terms, but Star Trek is often bad at that). Bok's subspace transporter and the dimensional shift of "The High Ground" open up a similar puzzle — these technologies work wonders, even beaming through shields, yet they are treated as verboten because they are hazardous to biological matter. So why not use them for the purposes of shipping (or weaponize them?)? Mind you, that same objection applies to The Fly, too.
      • I always assumed that weaponizing the transporters was something that was a sort of unspoken agreement among all parties not to do, mostly out of enlightened self interest. If someone actually succeeded at this on a scale of using it in their military routinely, the other side would get their hands on it eventually and start doing the same thing to you. Warfare would soon focus entirely on nothing but beaming explosives through shields, and the death toll for everyone involved would be catastrophic. So instead they just say "You know what, let's build better energy weapons, they won't be in such a hurry to copy those and they're a lot more reliable."
      • Sorry, but that just doesn't work. Aside from all the powers (eg. The Dominion, the Obsidian Order, TOS Klingons) who are ruthless enough to resort to such "underhand" tactics whatever some treaty says, the Borg are never going to sign up to any Geneva Convention equivalent in any case because they just don't negotiate.
      • It probably should be noted that there's a sort of area denial weapon in the Star Trek universe called a 'transport scrambler.' These devices don't turn transporters into an offensive weapon; rather, they make it risky or impossible to materialize in a specific area, probably—if the name is anything to go on—by inflicting some nightmarish Body Horror.
      • There is also a very good reason why the Klingons, Romulans, or Cardassians don't use transporter weapons. They have not only the Federation outside their borders to contend with, but each has rebellious/insurrectionist forces within their own population to contend with. Let the political rebels get the idea that transporters can be weapons as well as transport and suddenly keeping a lid on their population gets a whole lot more difficult. So there is probably a quiet agreement not to use them in case it gives their opposition-at-home ideas.
      • As for why no one uses it for cargo transport, there could be lots of reasons. It's possible that it's dangerous for inorganic matter too (beam over a bunch of self-sealing stem bolts, get a mangled box of fused metal). Or someone may have crunched the numbers and found that because of how the long-range transporters work, it's actually less energy efficient than just sending a cargo ship instead. Sure it's probably not as fast, but if the problem's so severe that your own facilities can't handle it and you can't wait three days for a cargo ship you're probably screwed anyway.
    • In the Star Trek canon, Scotty (after he ended up in the 24th century during the events of Relics) developed "transwarp beaming" for the Federation, which allows transport of distances on the order of light years. It took him a bit of time to do it though, so the Federation didn't have it available (yet) by the time of DS9. Transwarp beaming became commonly available in the Federation after the events of Voyager and Nemesis, and Spock Prime took information about this technology back in time with him to the alternate timeline of the new Star Trek movies. Here, he showed it to the younger Scotty, who got it working with the 23rd century tech of the time. "It never occurred to me to think of space as the thing that was moving." It was used in both Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. So the answer is, YES the Federation has this technology, they just don't have it YET during DS9/Voyager.
      • Even here, Scotty ended up in a water pipe and almost drowned. Even if you can calculate the movements to get someone to another planet or ship, you don't have the current sensor data to assess the current situation. This would be dangerous in a war zone. Most likely, it would require specific permanent transport points and even schedules to be performed safely.

     Using phasers like firearms 
  • DS9 introduced the concept of a "phaser sweep": using a phaser set to emit a widely-dispersed, continuous beam to root out hidden Changelings. They used it at a low power setting so it wouldn't damage the scenery, but in "The Rapture", we see Sisko use a phaser on a high-dispersal setting to burn through a wall of solid rock. Not to mention the fact that phaser beams are beam weapons, and can be continuously. But when we get into combat with Jem'Hadar, all we ever see people use are short bursts with no dispersal, essentially as if they were firing bullets. You shoot and you either hit or you miss. Why doesn't anyone ever seem to realize they're holding a beam weapon? If I had four or five Jem'Hadar confronting me, all bunched up in a group a ways off with no collateral damage I had to avoid causing, the first thing I would try is throwing a grenade at them. But since this is Star Trek and I apparently don't have any grenades, I would instead use the phaser I had in my hand and fire a continuous sweep from left to right across their group, or set my phaser to a wide-dispersal beam and just hose down the whole area with energy. It's a lot harder to miss that way. And yet no one ever does. Why is that?
    • In "The Siege of AR-558" one of the grunts hands out "extra power cells" to the troops guarding the perimeter, giving the implication that much like the "energy cells" in video games, a phaser battery offers a limited number of shots, and perhaps those wide-beam sweeps are like firing a real-life machine gun on full-auto (which in real life will exhaust the magazine in seconds.)
    • One time we see something like that is in "Blaze Of Glory", when Sisko is carrying a Jem'Hadar weapon. He sweeps a room with energy bursts, machine gun-style, to root out shrouded Jem'Hadar warriors. But earlier in the episode, during a firefight in which he was holding his phaser, he never thought of any sort of beam sweep.
    • Battery life? The sweeps were specifically stated as being low power, but actually burning through the rock would require a higher drain. Sure, you could probably set the phaser to do that, but then one's in trouble if the enemy is behind cover and one's got a paperweight rather than a phaser. Also, this Troper swears he can remember an episode (not sure which series) where someone fires a phaser on a group of people stunning them all at once.
      • You may be thinking of "The Return of the Archons."
      • Also "A Piece of the Action" did it with the ship's phasers to the surface. They were even able to omit the building Kirk was in and just stun the surrounding neighborhood.
      • Update: The episode this Troper was thinking of was Star Trek Voyager's Cathexis where Tuvok stuns everyone on the bridge and later refers to having his phaser on "wide beam dispersal". Oddly, it looked like it was multiple beams each targeting an individual rather than just a broad sweep.
    • Riker attempted something similar in "Frame of Mind" on TNG. It was a hallucination, but he programmed the phaser to fire at maximum setting on a wide beam which "if this phaser is real, it should take out half this facility." He's got enough power in that phaser to blow up a building. We've also seen phasers serve as batteries to power transporters.
    • Jake Sisko does this in Nor the Battle to the Strong and accidentally collapses a cave. Obviously he's not a trained member of Starfleet, and he was terrified out of his mind at the time, but it does establish that phaser rifles can be used to sweep an area on a high setting for at least short bursts. One would think that that would be very useful in a pinch.
      • A Klingon also sweeps an area with his disruptor pistol in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Out of universe, it's easy to see why Star Trek generally avoids this; the special effect of that scene, despite being skillfully done from a technical standpoint, just looks bizarre on screen.
    • There could also be an issue of cycle-time. This would probably affect hand-phasers more than rifles, but even with larger weapons it could still be an issue. So, firing a high-power dispersal burst might take out the first wave of infantry, but if there's another right behind them and you're waiting for your phaser to recharge, then you're pretty much dead. The only way those kinds of dispersal bursts would be effective in infantry combat would be as a picket weapon, preferably with at least two other soldiers firing in tight-beam while the guy firing burst mode waits for their phaser to come back online.
      • The dispersal burst may have a more limited range than the tight beam mode. This would really make it only useful for close quarters fighting. Granted this is what we see most often on the show, but if cycle time is an issue it would severely limit burst mode in close quarters, especially against enemies like Klingons and Jem'Hadar who are proficient with edged weapons. By the time your phaser comes back up, you've got a bat'leth in your chest.
      • Battery life is good, but not more important than dispatching the opponents immediately in front of you; if you shoot one opponent of five and his four comrades then kill you, the battery capacity you saved with your tight burst will be wasted. And we're in a post-scarcity society, and phasers are light, so no reason troops shouldn't have two phasers, one on wide beam and one on tight burst, as standard equipment. Obviously they have to limit technology use which would break the combat scenarios they want to show.
    • Even in TOS phaser 1 (the smaller flat less powerful version), could easily stun a crowd of people.
    • Because phasers are powerful and versatile enough, able to do anything from lightly daze to completely vaporize a target, that adding wide beams and single-beam sweeps would require completely rethinking how ground warfare is fought. The writers likely had neither the time nor budget to invent how wars would be fought with these weapons, so treated phasers like semi-auto firearms.

     Jem'Hadar anticoagulant disruptors (+ the mission in "Change of Heart") 
  • By the time "Change Of Heart" rolled around, Worf and Jadzia already knew that a hit from a Jem'Hadar disruptor leaves an anticoagulant in the victim's system, making the wound keep bleeding without stopping. They knew this because they were both present on a mission where they lost someone because of it. And they knew that they were going in on a mission in a Dominion-controlled world. As part of this mission, they brought first aid supplies along. So why did they not think to bring any counter-anticoagulant agent? Surely Bashir has had plenty of time to work out something that would work to help people who have been hit by a Jem'Hadar disruptor...
    • I'll go earlier: Why would you ever put Worf and Jadzia together on a solo mission in the first place? But yes, I agree with you.
      • Production-wise, this episode was considered as being where Jadzia dies rather than the last episode of the season - Worf does complete the mission but not quickly enough to save Jadzia, causing even more angst as he blames himself for her demise. Jadzia's actress was onboard with the idea, but it was ultimately nixed. Whether the episode was designed as an exit episode or simply lent itself to be considered as such, this Troper is not sure.
    • Going back a step further - blood clotting agents are something paramedics carry NOW. Why does a 24th century med kit NOT have such a basic emergency agent as part of it's standard complement?
    • I've always thought it was a bit of a dirty trick to have Kira be the one to send Worf and Jadzia on that ill-fated mission together, rather than Sisko. If it had been Sisko, he would lose moral authority in the final scene on account of being partially responsible for everything that happened.
      • Dirty trick maybe, but it's also the only way the situation makes any sense within the context of the show. For Sisko to send Worf and Dax would have been an Idiot Ball moment, whereas Kira is probably not fluent in the nuances of Starfleet protocols for personnel assignment. More to the point, they wouldn't make any sense to her. For a resistance fighter, going into a dangerous mission with close members of your family isn't unusual, it's just how it is. In Real Life, part of being a successful resistance fighter is assuming from the start everyone you've ever cared about is dead. Either they're in the struggle same as you, or if they're civilians then they'll be arrested/tortured/murdered by the occupying power out to get to you. Either way, they're dead. So for Kira, the idea that Worf would choose his wife over the mission simply didn't register as a real possibility the way it probably should have.
      • To the above content: this is exactly why there should be an explicit policy on not sending romantic partners on such missions together, and that it should not be left to the discretion of Kira or any other commanding officer.
      • As astounding as it seems, this actually seems entirely consistent with Starfleet's prewar mindset. Almost every reason you could list for why it's a bad idea to send romantic partners on a mission together also applies to their former policy of embarking families on starships.
      • To be fair, the episode does try to cover this objection by presenting it as an example of "mission creep"... Worf and Dax are sent merely to receive a message, and then circumstance compels them to go collect the informant themselves. But I don't think it really works, because it ultimately underlines why couples should probably never be on any missions together, let alone solo missions, since shifting priorities are always possible.

     More on Jem'Hadar anticoagulant disruptors (The Ship) 
  • In the season 2 episode "The Ship" a red shirt gets hit with a Jem'Hadar disrupter and slowly bleeds out over the course of the episode. The man has a phase strapped to his belt literally inches from the injury. Why does it occur to no one to try cauterizing the wound?

    Eat at Quark's? Why? 
  • Food on Deep Space Nine; all of the crew and civilian quarters have food replicators, Ops has food replicators, and there's even a cafe-like area in the Promenade called the Replimat, which has, you guessed it, food replicators. Hell, even Quark's has a food replicator that he uses to serve customers. So, with so many chances to get free food from just about anywhere on the station, why are there so many snack shops and restaurants on the Promenade? I mean, sure, some people would prefer real food prepared by hand instead of the replicated stuff, but if Quark's has a replicator to create orders for his customers, it's likely the other restaurants and food establishments on the station have them, as well.
    • Its been pointed out a couple of times throughout the various shows that "programming" a replicator(fine-tuning it) is as much a skill as being a gourmet chef. On Voyager, we see that Janeway is so bad at it she can somehow burn food.
    • We also don't know exactly how much it costs to eat replicated food at Quarks. Its entirely possible that ordering a replicated meal from Quark cost the equivalent of mere pennies, and he puts up with the Starfleet crew ordering replicated synthahol because he's a good businessman. Where Quark makes his real money: non-replicated alcohol, gambling, and renting ou holosuites.
    • Most of it's probably for the social factor, you don't just go to restaurants to eat, do you? Speaking of replicators, why is it that human life still has the tiniest bit of value? There used to be some Hand Wave about Heisenburg compensators and transport buffers that would make the replication of human beings impractical, but that little incident with Riker basically blew that all away. Even if it's morally reprehensible, why haven't we run across somebody pumping out identical slaves/soldiers/colonists with transporter equipment yet?
    • That was a Freak Lab Accident, the effect's never been duplicated since then.
      • We do: The Jem'Hadar and the Vorta.
      • No, those are explicitly stated as genetically engineered clones.
      • We also have a classic ep of Next Generation called "The Measure of a Man", which establishes - in the context of how easy it would be to create an army of Datas - how seriously the Federation takes the rights of individual sentient beings for just this reason.
    • It regularly comes up that Cardassian technology is completely shitty. It may just be that crew quarter replicators aren't that good, while the ones on the Promenade would get more attention from the Engineering crew, etc. That, and presumably (since the Federation doesn't seem to have any money, except for the times when it does) the crew is getting paid by the Bajoran government, and they have no other use for that money besides wasting time in the Holosuites and food.
      • This explanation is actually confirmed, albeit vaguely, in the very first episode. Jake asks Sisko, "Dad, is THAT the food replicator?" in an incredulous, disgusted tone. Sisko tells him they'll have to rough it for awhile. Given how much retrofitting is on O'Brien's plate all the time, it's likely he never got around to upgrading the replicators, and thus the restaurant food could be considerably better. Quark could also have a better replicator in the interest of providing a better product for higher profits.
      • It's mentioned many times that Rom has jury-rigged Quark's replicators. Since he's a Genius Ditz it seems reasonable to assume he souped them up a bit (no pun intended).
    • On Voyager, crew members occasionally talk about replicator rations (saving them up, gambling with them, restricted them when needed, and so on). Although Voyager was far away from Starfleet (and thus supplies), given that the Federation has obviously finite resources and is a basically communist society, it would be hard to imagine that they don't have some kind of rationing system. It's easy to see how someone could prefer to spend money they had obtained and save their rations, and such.
      • I would not describe the Federation economy as being Communist, so much as provisionally post-scarcity. Communism and post-scarcity are not the same things; Communism implies equal per-person rations of a scarce/finite resource, whereas post-scarcity implies limitless consumption of an infinite resource. In other words, renewable resources of whatever kind would be effectively infinite, and so in their specific case, practical post-scarcity would apply. This would be due not only to matter replication technology, but vast improvements in agricultural technology. Non-renewable or rare resources, on the other hand, would still need to be managed by something like Capitalism; and it is important to remember that the regulation of scarcity, was the primary reason for the existence of Capitalism as an ideology in the first place.

        This is an important distinction to make. The reason why most people can't differentiate between post-scarcity and Communism, is because most people can not truly comprehend post-scarcity, and so they therefore fail to understand that the reason why Communism is not the same thing, is because Communism was a system which was still intended to regulate scarcity; just ideally in an equitable manner. Star Trek aside, we actually have the technology to achieve limited post-scarcity in the area of certain very specific resources right now, but the reason why so far, at least, the idea is not tolerated, is because Capitalism itself requires scarcity in order to survive; and Capitalist advocates tend to be scared of the idea that it would render Capitalism redundant; when in reality, because some things would still be scarce, Capitalism would still be very necessary.
      • How does it logically follow that capitalism would still be very necessary? With only a few scare resources, a system that equitably rations these resources for all Federation members would be inherently more inefficient than a Capitalist system, which is actually massively wasteful but is good at producing fantastic surpluses for a relatively small portion of the total population. And without everyday scarcity it's hard to imagine how exactly where any individual economic advantage from capitalist accumulation would come from. This isn't to say some type of market exchange wouldn't still take place, but market exchange in itself is not sine-qua-non to Capitalism. There's no canonical evidence of any type of Capitalist activity or enterprise taking place within the Federation, and there's even a (rather Anvilicious) repudiation of Capitalist ideology against a straw capitalist in the TNG episode The Neutral Zone
      • Given that replicator rations aren't mentioned or even alluded to in any other Star Trek series, it seems likely that their existence on Voyager was solely a result of their isolation. With both fuel and raw material for the replicators being finite, it makes sense to limit replicator use when you can never be sure when you'll be able to resupply again. And using them like money makes sense too, because in their situation actual money would be quite worthless: they're thousands of light-years away from any merchants who'd actually take whatever forms of currency they might have.
      • Actually, while replicator rations are not alluded to anywhere else, other forms of rations are. At the very least, transporter rations (on Earth) are mentioned on Deep Space Nine.
      • Transporter Rations only seem to apply at the Academy (presumably teaching discipline or some such), and it is stated on Voyager that the rations are introduced to save on fuel since they don't know where to look in the Delta Quadrant.
      • The reference is made by Jake Sisko regarding his dad still going home for dinner every night by beaming over from the Academy. He refers to 'Transporter Credits' rather than rations, suggesting that each person is only allocated a set amount of resources that they can tap into. It's important to remember that the Federation was not a 'everything's free' society, but one where people had to apply for jobs and run households like today. The manner of resource redistribution and the provision for everyone in society is the primary difference.
    • The sense I got from Deep Space Nine was that different replicators have different...recipes for lack of a better word. So you might be able to get your favorite meal from the replicator's in Quarks, but not from the Replimat. The same could easily go for every snack shop and restaurant on the promenade.
      • The Replimat was also very likely a Federation creation whereas Quark's would likely offer a broader menu. I can't imagine the Replimat dispensing huge amounts of unhealthy food and alcohol to people 'on shift' whereas Quark's was far more relaxed.
      • "You want quiet, go to the Replimat. This is Quarks!" He's not only offering a different cuisine, but an atmosphere people are willing to pay for. It's also possible that the Replimat serves more as a corporate cafeteria for on-duty personel whereas Quark's is first and foremost a bar.
    • The reasoning, based especially on the way characters describe their favorite dishes, is probably that while everyone has replicators, not everyone has the recipes that go with those replicators, which are probably regarded as intellectual property in the same way that Coke, Pepsi and KFC have their recipes copyrighted (and we've seen in episodes such as the Doc's holonovel that intellectual property rights are still alive and kicking in the Federation). Quark may serve the best synthahol around thanks to a particular replicator recipe that only he's got the right to use on Deep Space Nine, while a rival shop may serve an unbeatable version of lemon merengue pie. Both would taste better than the standard replicator menu options, since those exclusive recipes are locked out of the public database.
      • And even if your personal replicator has a really good program for, say, sausage and mushroom pizza, the word "replicator" implies that it probably produces the same sausage and mushroom pizza each time, down to the slightest detail. Even if it's excellent pizza, it could lose its appeal after a while. Loading multiple variations of the same dish would help, but it's probably easier to just go out once in a while.
    • And the Expanded Universe has references to some forms of replicator comestibles being horrible. One Data-focused book with plentiful Continuity Porn featured his Love Interest making a remark about "wine from a replicator?" as though this was the height of bad taste.
    • Some people probably enjoy the smells of real food cooking, too. Replicators can't duplicate that, or the happy anticipation it builds.
    • Who says free food is available to everyone on Deep Space Nine? Maybe replicators are only available to residents, and the various merchants and tourists who pass through are buying most of the food. It's a transport hub, remember? Plenty of those traders may not have replicator-tech.
      • Quark's isn't free. Even if he didn't rave about someone owing bar bills in 'Babel', a Ferengi would never give away a free lunch. Given the Ferengi practice Capitalism in it's most obscene form, there is probably nothing in Quark's that can't be purchased with cold hard cash (though for Federation citizens there is probably an exchange of some sort possible, given that they aren't paid in Latinum).
      • The fact it's a transport hub means a lot of people there are travelers, many of whom wouldn't have tasted Bajoran food before. Going to a snack shop or restaurant means that the proprietor can describe the options, answer questions about a dish that a replicator couldn't, and maybe point out what other customers are having, so you can make an informed choice between all the unfamiliar treats on the menu.
    • The impression I always got from the dialogue, especially in Deep Space 9, is that naturally produced food prepared by a sentient chef tastes superior to replicated food. So, if you're broke but want to go out to eat, you go to a replimat. If you have some cash on you, you go to an actual restaurant. I also always got the impression that, at Quark's the food was free but drinks, which were real, and gaming cost money, and the food was just incentive for people to hang out a little longer and maybe play a few more tables.
      • This. It's like tasting the difference between something cooked in an oven/on a hob and something cooked in a microwave.
    • Maybe people just like getting together when they eat.
    • Also, you should come to Quark's 'cause Quark's is fun; come to Quark's; don't walk, run!
  • On Deep Space Nine it's canon that gold-pressed latinum (well, the latter part) is not reproducible in the replicator. Maybe there are foods that are the same?
    • Considering replicators can't do living things and there are plenty of Klingon foods that are served live (gagh and racht, for starters), I would say yes.
  • There's also a huge psychological component to food. It might be for the same reason fancy bottled water in an expensive looking bottle that you paid money for often appeals to people when in blind taste tests they can't tell the difference between it and tap water.
    • While this is possible, I think those blind taste tests sometimes fail to take into account that not all tap water is equal. I know I've had apartments where the tap water would have tipped you off to the difference by the smell, even though it was certified as perfectly safe and clean to drink. There may be something similar with the on-station in-quarters replicators. Yes, the hot dog is perfectly safe and nourishing to eat, and someone will probably inform you that it is structurally identical to what a hot dog should be. That doesn't alleviate the fact that because of some data corruption somewhere in the system, the hot dog smells like cat puke.
  • An early episode of Voyage has the answers, apparently there is some accounting for personal taste compared to the majority. Just because nine people like how something tastes, doesn't mean the tenth person will enjoy it as well. Tom Paris procures (with some difficulty) a bowl of hot, plain, tomato soup. Upon tasting said soup, he complains;
    Tom Paris: "Ugh. Thirty varieties and it still can't get tomato soup right."
  • It's also been shown that the food created by a replicator can't always duplicate the taste and texture of the real thing. After one bite, Eddington spat his food out and lamented how he missed the taste of a fresh tomato. Next Generation showed us the troubles that the replicator had creating gagh, and that was on the flagship of the Federation. The replicators on a run down Cardassian station have to be even worse. The Klingon restaurant wouldn't last long using the replicator.
    • That's a poor example, since gagh is supposed to be eaten while the worms are alive. I don't think even the best replicator can recreate a living being. The replicators on the runabout might not be as good either, hence Eddington's disappointment. Garak also voiced his displeasure with the Earl Grey he got while on a runabout. It may be the data storage and power necessary for replicators means that they're of different quality depending on the size of the construct—runabouts are the worst and starbases the best.
    • Okay, better example. In an episode of TNG Riker invites some of his crew mates over for dinner that he makes himself, but with replicated ingredients. Worf likes it (but then he comes from a culture that eats live worms so there's no accounting for taste) but the others take one bite and are clearly disgusted, and Riker says something like "Even the best cook is only as good as his ingredients." Since it's fair to assume the most advanced ship in the Federation fleet would have the most advanced replicator technology in the federation, this strongly suggests that replicated food, or even replicated ingredients of food, will always be significantly inferior to "natural" food that has been raised, cooked, and prepared the old-fashioned way. If all you're after is a quick bite, a replicator will work. But if you want good food and you're willing to wait, you go to Quark's.
      • Or Riker isn't as good a chef as he thinks. The real problem with the replicator question is what exactly is wrong with the food. Was it programmed with a bad recipe, or is there some transcription error of sorts? If it's the former, why didn't they program a better recipe, and if it's the latter then food that doesn't taste as good should be the least of their worries—if the molecules aren't being copied right, is there hydrogen peroxide where their should be water?
      • Hard to say why replicators would replicate food "wrong" given the technology. But it may be that deconstructing and reconstructing matter down to the cellular level does something to the food that ruins the taste. It's like that scene in the 1986 remake of The Fly where Seth Brundle asks Veronica to try two different pieces of steak, one a normal steak that he cooked himself, and the other a steak he sent through the teleporter first. The steak that came out of the teleporter was made up of the exact same molecules that went into the teleporter, but it tasted weird (I believe "synthetic" was the word they used in the movie). Perhaps it's the same effect here. Something about the replication process changes the food on a fundamental level. Not to the point that it's inedible or toxic, but enough that it just doesn't taste as good as regular food.
      • It's not that the molecules aren't constructed properly. It's because of how the replicator works. Take a steak for instance. The molecular structure of the steak isn't going to be exactly the same all the way through. It's a very complex mix of a bunch of different organic compounds. Replicators do not have the ability to create something like this, it would take a MASSIVE amount of memory that's not possible even in the 24th century. They refer to replicators in-universe using "molecular resolution" rather than "quantum resolution" which is necessary for transporters (the difference being the transporter only has to STORE a pattern for a brief period of time, and not create it from scratch). "Molecular resolution" uses extensive compression and averaging techniques...going with the steak example earlier, it would take a very very small "slice" of steak and then layer it to the size you want to create a replicated steak. The taste and especially texture would be different from a real steak. Think of a replicator as a very high tech 3D printer (only using matter/energy manipulation rather than a stream of raw materials)
      • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Data's Day, Dr. Crusher determines that organic residue left behind after an apparent transporter accident was fake—part of an elaborate deception by a Romulan spy. Crusher had noticed that DNA in the residue had numerous single-bit errors, which she states is typical of replicated matter. It seems plausible that such imperfections might have an effect on the flavor of replicated food.
      • Hate to torpedo a legitimately interesting line of thought, but the ingredients Riker used weren't replicated; he made omelettes from eggs that he picked up on a random planet they had stopped at, and the eggs were so noxious that only Worf could stomach them.
  • In one episode Sisko replicates a drink on the Defiant he takes a sip and makes a face. He then says "I should have taken up Quark on that replicator." So apparently some replicators are better than others.
  • Another theory is the psychological effect. Eating something that has been grown or produced for real may not actually taste different, but is perceived as better because you know it isn't replicated. Just like how we now value hand made products over mass produced things, even if the quality isn't always superior.
    • This may have some worth to it - some mass-produced cheap chocolate confections and baked products are produced on the exact same production lines in the exact same factories that produce the premium 'branded' products. Sometimes it's the buyer that determines the quality of a product, not the product itself.
  • This brings up an interesting issue— it's stated multiple times that Bajor (in general) does not have replicators. Which leads to problems when weather patterns and lack of fertilizer could cause their crops to fail. Yet Bajor, due to the treaty, owns Deep Space 9— you'd think removing the replicators and installing them on their home planet would be one of their first priorities.
    • The number of replicators on Deep Space Nine, used sparingly, could probably help a large city. While impressive, they're an entire planet. They would probably want some of those Class IV Industrial Replicators more. Considering that 12 of them could help a post-Klingon war devastated Cardassian Union and their many planets, the 2 that they got from the Federation would probably vastly surpass what DS9 could provide.
    • Sisko's father managed to run a successful restaurant back on Earth which only served fresh food, nothing replicated. It was stated over time in all the modern Trek shows that replicated food usually isn't as good as the "real thing".
  • In "Blaze of Glory" Eddington is complaining about how his steak tastes like simple proteins instead how a steak should taste. Perhaps, depending on the replicator, there's a limit to how your food is processed. For example, Star Fleet replicators may just mash a bunch of proteins together and call it a steak, while Quark's higher-end replicators may have a more lengthy cooking process.
    • This troper always understood the "I grew it myself" to be 1)pride in craftsmanship and 2)there can be a noticeable difference in vegetables and even livestock depending on what you fed them. Soil content and animal feed can produce enough difference in the final product that replicated food is bland by comparison.
  • Are all species able to use replicators? Remember, Deep Space 9 is a space station that receives people from all over the “Galaxy” (well Alpha and Beta Quadrants), it’s more than possible than many of its visitants do not have replicators or have some but not at the same level than the Federation, you should remember not all the people in the station are Federation citizens and some cultures may not have replicators or eating replicated food is taboo. As for the Federation’s citizens themselves, probably mostly for social reasons.
    • Good point. Maybe to some cultures, replicated food is the equivalent of non-halal.
  • If Bajor or any surrounding area had the same effectively unlimited replicator access core federation worlds or starships do, they wouldn't have crises of farmers, meds or weapons, would they? It's probably an issue of getting enough power in an isolated area, just like in Voyager. Officers and their families are probably the only people on Deep Space Nine with functioning replicators in their rooms, and it's been made clear throughout the franchise that non-replicated food generally tastes better.
    • And realistically, a replicator would require an incredible amount of power to do what it does. This is most evident from the fact that they tend to be the first things to go off-line whenever a starship or space station's main reactor fails. The Federation is probably advanced enough to invent safe and efficient portable fusion batteries, but then that adds maintenance onto the list of considerations when giving these things away to random farmers given how the Kazon proved that a seriously damaged replicator is capable of killing you horribly.
  • A running element of Quark's plotline is that a lot of his goods are imported instead of replicated, putting him under permanent pressure to manage his storage space. Cardassian food and drink specifically has to be stocked instead of replicated. The extent of it varies from episode to episode.
    • If it hasn't already been said - there is also the dining experience. A replicator you have to walk up to, tell it exactly what you want, and it makes it for you. But that's not how people work. Picture: you're hungry, you don't know what you want. So you walk into Quarks, you sit down. You listen to the clink of the Daboo wheel, the hum of the music. The sights and smells of the promenade. A waiter approaches your table. "What would you like to eat, sir?" "I'm not really sure... what's that person having? What's good today? I'm in the mood for something spicy." After a few minutes of conversation, the waiter brings you something new, something you've never tried before, and its now your new favorite dish. That's worth a couple monies.
    • It may also be a matter of consistency. With a replicated food item, it's all homogeneous, done exactly the same. Whereas a properly cooked meal has imperfections from both the chef and the equivalent (steak that's got slightly more of a sear on one section due to uneven stove heat or the chef looking away for a moment). Could partially be that sort of uncanny perfection from a replicated dish versus Quark having replicators that can reproduce those little imperfections that make food feel home-cooked.
      • "With a replicated food item, it's all homogeneous, done exactly the same." But why does this need to be the case? We see people casually customize replicator orders all the time. Couldn't a replicator just be programmed to supply a set of subtle variations on the same recipe to prevent that "too perfect" feeling?
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     Why is the crew expected to make ship repairs for ships docking 
  • In "Babel" a captain of a freighter is impatient with O'Brien for not repairing his ship soon enough. This is where the show's not-well-thought-out view of capitalism comes in but I digress. Starfleet is an organization that doesn't deal with money as far as I know. So it's the equivalent of a non-profit or a hybrid military government who has volunteered to run a space station. Expecting them to repair your ship faster or anything along those lines is like expecting Habitat for Humanity not just to give you a home but to repair the plumbing inside.
    • Presumably, they're paying the government of Bajor, which actually owns the station, and provides the majority of personnel for the station's maintenance crew. Starfleet's just there to manage them. There's no reason to think that Bajor's running a charity. That captain is probably paying some manner of port fees and taxes, too.

    Why does Quark have a pitcher of root beer on standby? 
  • In "The Way of the Warrior" Quark pulls out some root beer from behind the counter to give Garak some. Okay, I'll buy that for true aficionados synthehol tastes different from the real thing, so Quark would have to keep his more exotic liqueurs behind the counter. But root beer? You can replicate that stuff, and keeping it at room temperature in an open pitcher will quickly result in flat, icky, unpalatable root beer. No wonder Garak hates it. I can't help but think that had he tried freshly replicated root beer (akin to that from a chilled, pressurized soda fountain), he'd like it much better.
    • Maybe Quark's root beer jug is kept in a little stasis unit under the bar or something. Who knows what goes on under there? He produces all sorts of random drinks from under the bar, so it makes sense to me that there's some technological mechanism under there to keep them in appropriate conditions. Maybe the root beer jug's little cubbyhole maintains a cool environment and seals the jug with a force field.
    • Pretty sure one episode shows Quark getting a shipment of root beer, either by mistake or because he heard humans like it, with him commenting that to Ferengi (and possibly many other races) it's one of the most foul, disgusting smelling/tasting things he's ever come within spitting distance of. He's probably been trying to unload the stuff ever since just to get rid of it. As to why he ordered the real thing instead of replicating, see above. His replicators might not have a program for it, the real thing might taste better (to people who think it's possible for root beer to taste anything other than foul), or since it's Quark he probably picked it up for a song from some other trader who got stuck with the stuff. Heck, since it's Quark that guy might have wound up paying him to take it.
    • They specifically talk about the bubbles, too, so "under-counter fridge unit" is probably the explanation.
    • Perhaps the pitcher had a built-in forcefield to seal the atmosphere. When tilted to pour, the field either releases or is overpowered by the sheer weight of the liquid and dispenses the drink.

    On Screen, MAXIMUM Magnification! 
  • This line (used repeatedly) makes no sense. Sisko shouts it during critical moments in the Dominion war, such as when he's in the wormhole, facing an entire Jem'Hadar fleet. First of all, what's "maximum" magnification? In-universe, it seems to be "the prettiest view that's zoomed out enough to see an entire fleet." Yes, I said zoomed out which is the opposite of "magnification." The realistic application of this would zoom in to see only 3 or 4 ships, you would have to decrease magnification to get a larger view of an entire fleet.
    • Apparently Federation screen technology defaults to minimum magnification when the screen is turned on. Presumably the order "maximum magnification" is Starfleet military shorthand for "helmsman, magnify that image so it's close enough to see, but not so close that I can't tell what I'm looking at".
      • Yes, we've seen in the TNG episode "Q Who" that the so-called default "maximum" magnification, say a screen-filling image of a Borg ship, can be increased even further so you can actually see the ship regenerating. I agree, though, that in a wartime scenario in which there's a lot of things happening at once, a more strategic view would probably be preferable.
    • Simple answer: When someone says maximum magnification, the person working the view screen or the computer zooms it in to the closest magnification where you can see everything in question, be it a nebula, a ship, a pair of ships, whatever. It's not as close as it can zoom in, it's just zoomed in to where you can see the whole thing. Then if you want to see something specific, like a damaged nacelle, it can be zoomed in more.
    • The only way this line makes sense is if the view screen defaults to a nearby view and the dominion fleet is still quite a distance from the Defiant, perhaps the very opposite end of the wormhole. In that instance, a magnification of the default view would show a whole cluster of ships if they were far enough away. Regardless, you still need to assume the helmsman heard the command and understood it to mean "get the best possible image of the entire fleet you can from our distance".

     Vital ability to see tiny indistinguishable specks? 
  • In A Time to Stand Jadzia treats the absence of a viewing screen on a Jem'Hadar ship as an inexplicable flaw in the design. What exactly does she expect the screen to do? The ship's sensors would 'see' anything long before the crew would. In comparison the complaints about a lack of seats, replicators and medical facilities are much more intelligent.
    • Persistent, deep-running streaks of bad writing throughout the franchise have established that for some reason ship sensors can't pick up all of the same details that a view screen can, and that magnifying the view screen can actually get you detail beyond what the sensors can resolve. How this makes anything even approximating sense is anyone's guess... perhaps Federation Engineering strikes again and visual data actually uses a whole second set sensor system with a much higher sensitivity than the important ones (the real surprise for the characters perhaps being that the Jem'Hadar ship was designed in a sensible fashion in this respect).
    • It makes perfect sense, actually. It's quite easier to get a sense of what's going on with a visual than streams of numbers. Any being with eyes would process a visual far more efficiently than a readout on a console. If there's an enemy ship ahead, your weapons officer will have an easier time targeting if they have something to coordinate with rather than just a hit/miss return.
      • Considering the distances the ships would logically be at and the fact that we never see anything like a targeting system on the screen it doesn't seem very likely that it would be of any help. Besides, apart from an apparent lack of tactical imagination there is never any guarantee that the enemy won't be below or above them.
      • Distance doesn't render a visual display moot at all consider radar displays or tactical plots. Early models were functionally extremely abstract showing very raw data with the first models actually just being a spike on a wiggly line interpretation was difficult at best of times and in the stress of combat mistakes were all to easy to make. One of the biggest changes over time has been the increasing abstraction of this raw sensor data into increasingly information dense and easy to interpret imagery. A large display or plot that gives one a clear visual overview of the battle as interpreted by sensors is a fairly blindly obvious and critical feature of any command station on a ship. (The fact that Trek has never really shown the view-screen being used this way not withstanding.) That said the befits and drawbacks of a large central image verses a network of distributed individual ones could be argued, but for someone used to the former the lack of it might be considered a design fail regardless of relative merits.
    • The view screen has the ability to create simulated images. It may be the view screen is normally used to produce an image based upon sensor data in the same way the Jem'Hadar headsets do (it's not as though it's the headsets themselves give the wearer X-ray vision, after all).
    • It's important to remember that one of the most common Trek uses for such a viewing screen is to facilitate face-to-face communication and diplomacy between ships, allowing for added nuances of body language that are otherwise lost via voice or text. The Jem'Hadar, naturally, do no diplomacy on the part of the Dominion; that's the Vorta's purpose, so there's no need for such a thing on a Jem'Hadar warship. In that light, the comment is a reflection on the mentality of Jem'Hadar ship commanders.
      • The Jem'Hadar may not do diplomacy, but their ships ship have visual communication, such as during the first attack on Deep Space Nine, Dukat and Weyoun were seen on their ship and in "One Little Ship" the Vorta had a view screen conversation with his First on the Defiant. So its no that they don't, they do do visual, but presumably only the Vorta and the First get to see it.
    • In For the Uniform, Dax has to pilot the Defiant without the aid of the main computer. While doing this, she seems to rely heavily on the view screen. It is possible that a ship's main viewer biggest job is to provide a visual reference to a helmsman preforming delicate maneuvers when the sensors are off-line.
      • There are many episodes in Star Trek where they only do something when an object is actually visible (albeit with magnification). If she was navigating with that view screen then shouldn't it be much larger and show every angle instead of what's in front of you?
    • She would also have to have perfect knowledge of where the edges of the ship were in relation to what she sees on the viewer. A modern fighter pilot can conduct complex maneuvers on site alone because he can see down the nose of the plane and see his wingtips and tail with a glance. Modern backup cameras for large cars have this as a feature, but you see your vehicle from a birds-eye view amalgamation of several cameras. She'd would need a 3-D version of the same to pilot with just her eyeballs.
    • There's a major important factor of the view screen that everyone seems to be missing: It lets everyone on the bridge see the same thing at the same time. Sure when they need more detailed analysis from their sensors they look at their boards, but the view screen is an expression of how the other races all, to some extent, recognize that their individuality is a trait that contributes to their victory. If everyone can see the screen some guy off at another station can say "Look, they're opening the shuttle bay on that side!" just because he happened to be the one who noticed. The fact that the Jem'Hadar ship uses the headsets to relay only what's needed and only provide the one in charge with all the necessary data cuts down on individuality and tries to make everyone minions/cogs/subservient.
    • Another function of the view screen is that it effectively functions as a window. Using a modern day analogy, one of the major reasons many volunteers wash out of submarine training is that it is very hard for human beings to function in enclosed spaces without being able to look outside. The big view screen probably helps reassure people that they can still outside, even if there is nothing to see. It's a psychological things, and probably something that The Founders edited out of the Jem'Hadar when they were creating them.
    • If you're close enough for a detailed scan, you're close enough to see them. It's a genre convention that space combat, and most other interactions between ships, happens at a very close range. Most visual medium sci-fi works that way, because using realistic ranges would be visually boring.
    • I think everyone is forgetting a big issue when it comes to view screen vs sensors. The image on the view screen is created with data from the sensors, but that's not the issue. Detailed sensors (even in real life) have the nasty tendency to produce information overload to humans looking at them. They simply present *too much information* for someone to deal with. When this happens, it's very easy to miss tiny details that you would see if presented with much less information. Hence, the view screen.
    • The real problem is the viewscreen only lets them see in one direction at a time, usually the front. This would be mostly useless when they'd need to see in three dimensions. Fine for diplomacy, not battle. Of course Space Is an Ocean.
    • For sensor readouts to be as useful as a viewscreen, you'd need a lot of people monitoring it, and/or precise calibration depending on what vessel you encounter; if it's a previously unseen vessel, you'd be out of luck. There would be a lot of data coming in at once: Size, color, shape of the ship, movement, changes, etc. It'd be hard to program the sensors well enough to catch all relevant information, while at the same time not giving the crew too much information at once. Is it relevant that the shuttle door opened? That one is a slightly lighter shade of green than the rest? The one is turning clockwise, the other counterclockwise? And you need to translate all the information to a humanoid-readable interface. Text or audio would take too long, especially if several things are happening at once (like, say, three ships moving in different ways), which means you need a graphic interface. And at that point, a viewscreen would capture most things at once, and would only need to be supplemented by other things.

     Medieval Bajoran Spacecraft 
  • In Explorers Sisko builds an exact replica of an old Bajoran lightship; a starship that doesn't use engines but operates using solar sails. Exactly how technologically advanced where the Bajorans at the time the original model was built? (Note the gravity net was the only modification Sisko made.) The entire thing is operated solely by cranks and pulleys, there is not any sign of a computer or even much of a power source for that matter. So how exactly did the ancient Bajorans get the original lightship into orbit? Were they somehow able to build a rocket capable of breaking orbit yet somehow not have the technical knowledge to build powered motors for a pulley system?
    • An orbital tether/stratotower maybe? A technology that would be démodé once transporters became available - why spend hours riding a vertical cablecar once you get a tech that can bounce you thousands of miles in seconds? See the Voyager episode that featured this tech.
    • The Prophets did it.
    • It's never stated this is the only form of interplanetary travel ancient Bajor had access to. In fact, we really don't know all that much about Bajor's tech level before the Occupation, but they probably were not pre-warp at the time. Another episode featuring a lightship implied that although the tech was ancient, Bajorans were still using them 200-300 years before the series, even though they were obsolete by then, just like O'Brien likes to shoot the rapids in a primitive kayak when he could easily simulate a more modern, powered vehicle in the holosuites. As for the manual operation of the ship? Maybe they just liked it that way. They might have brought portable computers like laptops on board, too, but that's just speculation. My personal theory is the ancient Bajorans launched these things up in single-use disposable rockets, like the solid-fuel boosters on the space shuttle, that could get the ships into orbit but couldn't go much further. But I also think Bajor was warp-capable and probably had at least a few off-world colonies before the Cardassians invaded, as per Picard's comments in the episode that introduced them that the Bajorans were accomplished artists and architects when humans were still ice age hunter-gatherers.
    • Just had a thought. Perhaps the Bajorans did have access to electricity and motors and stuff but intentionally left it out of the design for some reason. For example, if the ship were to encounter an EMP wave that would cripple the ship. Maybe the Bajorans were expecting something like that to happen. They explicitly mention the Denorios Belt bring a major concern and that's a plasma field within the Bajor system. Surely that would have caused major problems for a ship that does have a power source, right?
      • If they were advanced enough to launch the ships then shouldn't they have been advanced enough to know the basics about protecting electronics? It would seem far more dangerous that without sensors and computers they would go far off course. Of course, unless the Cardassian home planet is in the same system as Bajor it makes even less sense that anyone would try it. Anything less than warp speeds couldn't make that long a trip safely (something an experienced officer like Sisko should know).
    • The Bajorans appear to have suffered from the same problem every other alien in Star Trek does: It has a hat, and its hat is romance. From farmers to politicians to terrorist to, presumably, their astronauts, every single Bajoran is obsessed with romance (in the poetic sense). It may have never occurred to a Bajoran that you could travel through space on anything other than a beam of light. And if it did, maybe they just didn't see the point of doing it any other way.
  • Batteries and motors were too heavy, and it had to minimize weight to be loaded onto whatever rocket launched it back in the day. Or, reducing mass allows the solar sails to accelerate the ship more quickly (which is true). Wild-ass guess.
  • There's more wrong with the design. The sails are way too small to be any good, even if the craft was rocketed into space fast enough to clear its native solar system. There is also no way a solar sailing trip would consist mostly of "tacking against the solar wind" while still more or less in the same system as the star you're trying to fly away from. With a proper albedo difference between both sides of the sail, no journey would have to involve any tacking. And for a partly wooden ship that starts breaking down during normal operations it surely handles flying at at least 3 million times the speed of light (assuming Bajor and Cardassia are only a few lightyears apart, a distance the ship covered in seconds) remarkably well.
    • But the worst offender is the method with which it achieves warp speeds. Warp engines are called like that because they work by warping space around the vessel, allowing your ship to fly slower than light while passing by the rest of the universe at a speed much faster than that. The reason it works this way is because Star Trek at least partially respects the idea that nothing can travel faster than light, and it would in fact cost an infinite amount of energy to propel anything with mass to the speed of light. The ancient ship achieves warp speed by simply being pushed by particles that somehow do fly faster than light, which of course means they can also carry a ship along at those speeds without spending an infinite amount of energy.
    • Also, nobody inside the ship could possibly survive the acceleration. Star Trek usually hand waves this in starships with a system called "inertial dampeners." It's a conceit that's easier to swallow in a world where subspace fields and artificial gravity are commonplace, but the original lightships couldn't have had any such systems. The Ben-Tiki's artificial gravity was installed because Sisko didn't want to spend the whole trip floating around the ship.
  • Why do humans still use canoes and simple sailboats despite having powered watercraft? The lightship may have been based upon a recreational vehicle-design, used by long-ago Bajoran hobbyists who didn't want to let technology do all the work for them.
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     Cloning a man as evidence? 
This has been bugging me ever since I saw "A Man Alone". Some funny genetics are found amongst the skin flakes of a murder victim's room. Bashir then clones the genetics to see what it is. Fair enough. But even when he realizes it is developing into a humanoid (and a fully grown one at that), he continues the experiment until there is a fully adult clone living and walking around. Is creating a new life form as part of a crime investigation really all that ethical? Especially considering this person will have a drastically shortened lifespan, and will have to learn even the most basic things. Yet no one seems to even remark on this.
  • To be more precise, he cultures the material, which then begins growing by itself. He wasn't trying to clone it, it was a self-growing clone. All he did was unintentionally give it the means to grow. Once it grew to the point that it was clearly humanoid, it would have been unethical for Bashir to just kill it out of hand.
  • The first Ibudan clone was capable enough to impersonate the real guy and take a massage in the holosuite, so he might have knowledge and behaviors implanted into him—although that raises more questions about if he's aware of the nature of his existence, whether he knew he was going to be a murder victim, et cetera.
    • That actually raises more questions of whether Ibudan should have been arrested for murdering a clone if he wasn't a full life. I think the crime was more trying to frame Odo
      • Recall that we actually see him killed and he does not seem to be anticipating it. It plays like murder.

     Jake's knowledge of ship logistics in Valiant 
  • In "Valiant", the captain asks Nog about some technobabble involving attacking a Jem Hadar ship. Jake knows that his father would never try such a thing. How would Jake know? His interest in ship ops has always been limited
    • Jake can piece together that's a foolhardy, borderline suicidal attack plan, and he knows his father's character even if he doesn't understand all the nuances of the situation. Additionally, raising his father is a tactic to try to get Red Squad to back down (failed, as it turns out).
    • He simply didn't know how to give them a convincing argument other than invoking his father. Needlessly attacking a ship a dozen times your size with a Hail Mary throw sounds absurd, but he didn't have the words to articulate this.

     The Danube Class ship 
  • 1: How fast is the Danube? It appears to depend on the writer; officially its top speed is Warp 5, or 214 times light speed. Earth is 50 LY from DS9, but Danubes regularly fly there in two weeks or less in the episodes — this is closer to a top speed of Warp 8 or 9 (1024-1516 times light speed).
    • Maybe the DS9 crew retrofitted them to make them more useful. Their drives are still underpowered compared to a full size starship but they're fast enough by the late seasons that a JHAS only catches up with one slowly, and the DS9 Technical Manual gives the JHAS's top speed as warp 9.6, which is comparable to Starfleet capships.
  • 2: Where are the bathrooms? None of the official diagrams seem to show them — there's the cockpit up front, the configurable modules in the center, and the quarters in the rear. It's reasonable to ignore it on a larger ship where we can assume everyone has them in their quarters. But the Danube quarters have been shown (in a Next Gen episode). And characters regularly take long trips on Danubes; the restrooms have to be there somewhere.
    • I always assumed that the head (to use naval vocabulary) was in the middle section. Who's to say the configurable modules take up the entire middle of the craft? See this floor plan.
    • Possibly the bunks can be folded up against the wall to reveal toilet-benches underneath them.
    • The transporters continuously extract waste material directly from the crew's bladder and colon. There are no bathrooms in the future.

  • We know from episodes like "The Measure of a Man" that when a starship is lost, its captain faces a court martial, as happened with Picard over the loss of the Stargazer. So, given that the runabouts all have U.S.S. names, NCC registries and their own proper class name (as opposed to a Type number like shuttles) does that mean Sisko faced a court martial for every one of the dozen or so DS9 runabout that were lost over the course of the series? I mean just off the top of my head there's the Yangtzee Kiang ("Battle Lines"), Ganges ("Armageddon Game"), Orinoco ("Our Man Bashir"), Mekong ("The Die Is Cast"), Yukon ("By Inferno's Light"), Shennandoah ("Valiant"), Gander ("Penumbra") and they're just the ones that had names, as theres also the ones from "The Ship", "Empok Nor", "Nor the Battle to the Strong" and the one Picard had in "Timescape" that were destroyed...
    • No.
    • It's an interesting question, but I'd guess "no" — that the runabouts are treated as different categories than full-fledged starships, and more like the eminently destructible shuttlecrafts. Why they have NCC registries is a bit of a question in itself.
      • Perhaps they're counted as a sort of "middle ground" between a capital ship (such as the Enterprise or Defiant) and a shuttle. They're designed as more attache ships to large facilities (DS9 or other Starbases), rather than as components of a capital ship (in which case I assume they'd share an NCC- registry, being counted as part of a ship loadout)
    • If you think of runabouts like modern aircraft, there would be a formal investigation to the loss of the craft (mechanical, pilot error, sabotage), but not necessarily a court martial unless a criminal act was suspected.
      • Possibly because while they're assigned to various places, they're also expected to be able to do long-range, self-supporting trips that people wouldn't typically use a shipbound shuttlecraft for, like the trip between DS9 and Earth, or doing a bit of exploring around the Gamma Quadrant. So they're semi-independent, but since they're not actually assigned a captain and crew they don't invoke the automatic court martial.

    Why a wheelchair? 
  • In the season 2 episode "Melora" a member of a low gravity species is confined to a wheelchair because standard antigravity technology wouldn't work in this stations architecture. The wheelchair causes her a lot of trouble even after practicing for a month. Doesn't the Star Trek universe know exoskeletons, which should only be as expensive to make as a wheelchair using replicator technology? Especially jarring because the character wears some sort of braces that look a lot like an exoskeleton.
    • The TNG episode "Ethics", introduced neural implants that send a signal right from the brain to the limbs, but it hadn't been perfected yet. Nog also rigged up some neural stimulators to make a dead man walk in "The Magnificent Ferengi", but the subject just sort of shuffled around like a drunk zombie. Presumably, the Federation had mastered Warp Speed and Teleportation at that point, but not the Neural interface technology being used to make robotic limbs today.
      • Well, it's a little unfair to use "The Magnificent Ferengi" as an example. Nog had a very limited amount of time to jerry-rig a device, and walking naturally is a complex task that involves coordinating muscles all over the body in a very specific way. Also, considering Nog was using equipment that wasn't meant to be used in that way, it's a small miracle that he was able to make the corpse walk at all, let alone walk convincingly. Presumably, Bashir or someone with a biomedical engineering background could have rigged up something a little more convincing than Nog was able to throw together.
      • Not to mention that since the subject that Nog was operating was already dead it wasn't like he was going to have to worry about causing further damage (and also the research has already been done on walking virtually corpses; see TOS Spock's Brain) unlike an actual living person where oh-so much could go fatally wrong with trying to hack their brain.
    • The concern with the Lightworlder visitor may be less about her not having the strength to walk, than about her delicate bones being too brittle for her to do so safely. An exoskeleton that's not perfectly configured and programmed for her movements might be more likely to snap her legs than support them.

     Cloaked Missiles 
  • In Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 05 E 23 Blaze Of Glory, the Klingons provide the Maquis with thirty cloaking devices, which they expect them to use on their ships in border skirmishes against Cardassia and the Dominion. Instead, they attach them to missiles which they aim directly at Cardassian population centers. Except it turns out they don't, but the Klingons and Federation believe they did, so it's apparently a thing you can do in-universe. Wait... you can do that? Cloaking devices don't require a ship to run? Why don't the Klingons and Romulans do this all the time? Point them at military targets if you're not okay with killing civilians en masse, but that still seems like a much better strategy than flying a ship up close to your target, decloaking, and firing disruptors at them while they fire back at you.
    • Its possible that a cloaking device is sophisticated enough/difficult enough to build that this just isn't a good logistical choice for military use(as in: the cloaking device might represent 90% of the cost of the ship). But the Maguis are terrorists, the cloaks were a gift to them, and the tactical advantage of having them was outweighed by potential to strike a 1-time very effective blow.
    • And how do we know is not common practice? I do see a practical problem with doing it often and is that, as far as I know, only two races have cloaking devices so it will be very easy to point out the possible attacker and such tactic most probably would cause outrage even among allies causing big political damage, and support from an ally and/or not intervention from a neutral part is crucial during war.
    • It's probably not practical. Cloaking devices require such a massive amount of power that they really require a ship's warp core to power them. Thus you'd have to give each missile a warp core, making it likely not feasible from a resources/gain standpoint.
      • Except that it was apparently practical enough for the Maquis to do, and they don't exactly have warp drives to spare.
      • But the Maquis didn't do it, that's the whole point of the episode though. In any case the question is why races with warp cores to spare like the Klingon don't do it often (although that's an especulation) assuming that in effect is not doing often the reason is probably simple logic. If you can put a cloaking devices to something would always be better to do it into a ship that can change course if needed, shot at enemies and do a lot more than just blow when reaching target.
      • The Maquis didn't actually do it, but the Feds and Klingons didn't react to the claim that they did with, "That's ridiculous, where did they get the warp cores?" They reacted with, "Holy !@#$ing !@#$ all those people gonna die!"
      • Which still doesn't take away the rest of the impracticalities: Only two races have cloaking devices so the attack would be easily track to one of them causing outrage, a lot of things can go wrong by having a mindless explosive gadget traveling faster than light, and instead of wasting a warp core would be more useful to put it in a ship. Other than a desperate terrorist organization seems unlikely that the idea have any useful application for a government.
      • You're assuming that they require a ship's warp core strapped to each missile, but there's nothing in the episode to indicate that that's the case. As for outrage, when you can blow up an enemy's military installations with total impunity, their outrage isn't much of a concern.
      • As I said before having your allies happy and keeping the neutral parties neutral is crucial in a war, so yes, outrage from the enemy may not be an issue but outrage from the rest of the Galaxy is.
      • The rest of the galaxy that you can also attack with impunity? Sure. Yeah. Uh-huh.
      • No matter how effective it is to send an FTL mindless projectile toward a target hoping that nothing goes wrong in its way, probably won't be a match if all the rest of the powers of the Galaxy decide to take you down because your are sending invisible FTL machines that kill millions of civilians. Nor even the Klingons could survive a combined attack of all the rest of the superpowers.
      • Ok, I think someone totally miss the whole point of the episode. Exactly what Sisko and Martok were afraid of is that if the missiles effectively reach Cardassia and kill a lot of people, then Cardassia would declare war on the Federation (as the Maquis are its citizens) and the Klingons (as the cloaking devices is from them) causing the entire Galaxy to fall into a bloody war like never seen before (as Cardassia’s allies will respond and the different factions in the Milky Way would align), and if a war declaration was possible even when the attack was done by an illegal terrorist organization not acting in behalf of any of both governments, imagine how would be if a government use it. So, there you have your answer, that’s why no one does that, because it will lead to a brutal Doomsday war. note 
      • They were already neck deep in the Dominion War. They just didn't want a WMD hitting an almost exclusively civilian population, even if was the enemy's.
      • Correction to this post (my mistake). The war hadn't started yet. This strike might hqve started it before anybody was ready though.
      • Sure, if you use them to kill millions of civilians (as the Maquis were supposedly doing) it's an unforgivable terrorist action. But nothing's preventing their use against legitimate military targets, and doing so would be a lot more tactically sound than flying a cloaked ship right up next to your target and politely decloaking so that you can get fired back at. Think of all the lives that were lost destroying the Dominion's shipyards and ketracel white facilities during the Dominion War. Now imagine that the Klingons or the Romulans accomplished those exact same objectives with zero friendly casualties by using cloaked missiles instead of ships to carry out the exact same attack. What exactly is the down side? They're attacking legitimate military targets, and every major power in the Alpha Quadrant (minus Cardassia) is already allied against the Dominion, so there's no neutral or Dominion-sympathetic party to worry about pissing off.
      • Ok, granted that that will be a legit use of the technology. Yet, there are still a series of logistic problems at hand like the fact that these torpedoes can't be fully control, if at all, and that means a lot of bad things can happen. For example what if the Dominion start using "human" shields as a way to avoid attacks? captains in ships can choose to retry and decide a different set of actions, or what if the Dominion surrender or starts peace negotiations and the attack get suspended? captains can receive the orders for them to stop the attack, and so on. Having unintelligent deathly machines flying around doesn't sound the best idea, especially not if ships with intelligent captains can do the trick anyway.
      • Maybe there's a size requirement to the vessel using the cloak? Were these missiles one-off constructs that the Klingons or Romulans just wouldn't consider practical for regular military use? Unless they were launched from within the Cardassian solar system, they required warp drives just to reach their targets.

     No Security Cameras on Deep Space 9? 
  • Why does Deep Space 9 not have any security cameras anywhere on the station? Not even in the vital areas. There were so many Odo investigation episodes that could have been solved instantly with the aid of camera footage. But no, apparently Deep Space 9, a vital space station critical to the war effort, lacks the a basic security feature you find in present day convenience stores. It's especially absurd considering the station was built by the Cardassians, a totalitarian race totally obsessed with security. Not only that, but built to oversee a military occupation and run largely by Bajoran slave labor! You're telling me the overseer of the station wouldn't have cameras to keep track of his slave workforce?
    • Odo said there were security cameras in one episode.
    • The scarcity of security cams, even if there are a few, could be because the station had been ceded by a totalitarian race obsessed with security. One of the first things the Bajorans would've insisted upon, when Deep Space Nine was handed over to managers with an appreciation for personal freedom, would be the removal of all the intrusive surveillance equipment left behind by the Cardassian police state: no more Big Brother for them.
      • And the Federation doesn't seem like they'd be too fond of the concept either.

     How did Jake have knowledge of his dad's thoughts on Jem Hadar technology? 
  • In "Valiant", the kid Captain devised a plan to modify the photon torpedos and disarm a Jem Hadar cruiser from 300 meters away. Jake happens to be at the group meeting and says "no way, this won't work, my dad would never do something like this." The Captain seems to be speaking fluent technobabble to an audience of starfleet officers who have been trained to understand it and have been up against Jem Hadar ships. While Jake has lived at the crossroads of the Dominion War, I don't recall him being present on the Defiant or at Ops or sitting in on his dad's strategic briefings at take your son to work day. He's only a recent graduate of Keiko O'Brien's 24th century equivalent of a GED program, I surmise and is mostly a full-time writer.
    • A similar question was asked earlier on this page, and the answer is that the technobabble is irrelevant. Jake knows that his father wouldn't do something as stupid as single-handedly attacking a dreadnought unless he had no other choice.

     Didn't the Klingons Already Solve That Problem? 
  • In "Call to Arms" O'Brien, Dax, and Rom are discussing the apparently insurmountable task of designing an undetectable anti-spacecraft mine to keep the Dominion from crossing into the Alpha Quadrant. So, whatever happened to that cloaking Klingon mine from "The Sons of Mogh" that was undetectable by "any known sensor array," and could cripple a cruiser ten kilometers away? The Klingons were right there on the station, and this was sort of an emergency, surely the Klingons would have been willing to share the design. They seemed a bit prone to accidents, but the invasion was sort of already sort of in-progress at that point, so it probably would have been worth the risk. Fabricating an existing design probably also would have been easier than designing and building a completely new device from scratch. That's especially true because DS9's design had to swarm detonate—20 or 30 per ship, according to Chief O'Brien—so there wouldn't have to be nearly as many of the Klingon model, and they wouldn't have had to worry about making them self-replicating. They could be deployed by cloaked ships, so there was a chance that the Dominion wouldn't have even noticed they were laying a minefield until it was already in place, giving Starfleet a few extra days or weeks to ready itself for war, and maybe even giving Starfleet Command enough time find a couple of extra ships to reinforce the station.
    • The Klingons wanted the minefield to serve as a deterrent to keep Bajorans and Starfleet bottled up in that part of space. One or two ships hit would halt all travel until they could clear the minefield. The DS9 crew needed a minefield that would actually stop a fleet from plowing through it so hidden and self-replicating was required.
    • The Federation (and really most other governments in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants) are not going to throw hordes of ships and soldiers into a minefield hoping to hit all of them. The Dominion, on the other hand, has a nearly endless supply of fanatically devoted genetically engineered soldiers who are absolutely willing to go on a literal suicide mission for their gods and have the manpower to far more easily replace destroyed ships, hence the need for self-replication. Can't do that with needing to replace a cloaking device every time.

     Why do they say their passwords out loud rather than type them in? 
  • Why do they give their passwords away when they do their command authorization codes? It wasn't even that hard in the 20th century to impersonate someone else's voice.
    • The way it's supposed to work is that the computer crosschecks the authorization codes with the user's biometrics. We have seen that happen explicitly a handful of times across the franchise: Kirk needed a retina scan to access data on Project Genesis; Picard and Riker, and Sisko and Kira used handprints to set the autodestruct on Enterprise and Defiant, respectively; breath print identification was seen being used aboard Discovery—a method that was shown to be ridiculously and predictably easy to defeat. Computer security runs almost entirely on Rule of Drama in the Trek universe, though, and so biometric authentication is utterly nonexistent when the script needs it to be. While the writers are a little more consistent with the computer needing at least voiceprint authentication, they're very willing to forget about it whenever it's convenient: Nog ran amok with O'Brien's access code in "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River" and Neelix used an engineering access code he'd overheard with impunity in "Invesgtigations", which, just... ugh. And, as you said, voiceprint isn't exactly secure on it's own—Data once hijacked the Enterprise with what was essentially a playback attack.
    • Voice-print seems to go hand in hand with the actual code, but we've also seen them be fiercely protective of the codes regardless of who might use them. Data faked Picard's voice to make a new password which would lend credence to the voice being part of their two-factor authentication. Regarding O'Brien and Neelix, it's possible that some codes must be by voice and for others a conventional password is enough. O'Brien's code was for supply requisitions, though I didn't see the Voyager episode in question.
    • There is also the possibility of the computer making a scan of the person who's giving the command in the moment that it is called upon to utilize the command code in question, though, of course, that doesn't count the times that Rule of Drama calls for the command code to be used by someone else or being used under duress.

     Future birth control 
  • The implication in "The Dogs of War" is that the birth control method that Ben and Kasidy are practicing requires both of them to get monthly injections (the good captain has forgotten his). It kind of beggars belief that there wouldn't be an easily reversible method of cancelling out fertility altogether, but let's set that aside. What we learn suggests a pretty inefficient system, since either partner missing a treatment can (and does) lead to an accidental pregnancy — shouldn't it only fail if BOTH partners forget their injections, not just one? If it requires both of them to take their injections to work reliably, doesn't that make it less effective than if only one needs to take it, since now two people could "oops, forgot" rather than one? I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts on what these mysterious injections actually do.
    • These are all good points. My guess is part of that infamous dissonance between what the leaders and idealists of the Federation think and what the actual reality is. The leaders think we have evolved beyond one partner taking responsibility for pregnancy. Both partners now work together in united bliss to usher in the future of humanity. The reality of the Federation, as anyone who has read the Fridge Horror pages knows, is far different. As to what these twin in injections do I really cannot say as they certainly do not work like anything we've got today.
      • Not sure why "here's a funny inconsistency or something the writers didn't think through" needs to be shuttled into "AHA! The Federation is actually an evil dystopia!" We need a new Godwin's Law to cover this tendency among certain fans.
      • The author is dead, long live Fridge Logic!
    • Maybe both individuals can get shots and either way is effective, but since Kassidy is out and away on her ship and away from "civilized" medical care more often it was more inconvenient for her to remember hers, so she and Ben talked it over and decided that since he was on the station or on Starfleet ships all the time where it would be easier for him to get the injections, they'd just rely on him not forgetting. This is assuming Kassidy only mentions Ben forgetting his injection and doesn't specifically say she has one too. If she does, maybe this "both parties take the same kind" birth control is milder and has less side effects for all involved than one that would be effective if just one party took it, so since they were in a committed relationship they went with that.
      • I would also file "can't do it when you're off on your ship and away from DS9's infirmary" as "pretty bad birth control."
      • I do wonder if originally it was meant to be just Sisko on the pill in a look how responsible men will be in the future kind of thing but it got muddled into a system in which sounds in every way worse than what we have today. I suppose in theory a dual system could add an extra layer of reliability over a single use system (both his balls and her ovaries are not working as opposed to only one or the other) but clearly if this Star Trek system works that way then Kassidy was very unlucky that night.
      • Why does he even have to go to the infirmary for the injection at all? This seems needlessly time consuming and embarrassing when hyposprays are so easy, a child can use them. Seems like he should be able to replicate the shot, give it to himself in his quarters, and chuck the used hypospray into the recycler while he's shaving in the morning.

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