Why Enterprise-D neednot have been destroyed...

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ArcticFox
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Why Enterprise-D neednot have been destroyed...

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:34 pm

...and why Will Riker should be brought up on charges and imprisoned for rank incompetence and dereliction of duty.

Last night I was watching Star Trek: Generations after receiving the complete set of Star Trek: TNG movies on Blu-Ray I'd bought on Amazon. There was a part of the movie that had always bugged me and at last I figured out why.

The Enterprise should not have fallen.

Don't get me wrong. I get they were going for shock value, and it was time for the Enterprise to get an update, but the battle between the Enterprise and the Klingon Bird of Prey was written miserably.

The set-up:

Enterprise is in orbit over the planet Veridian III and is facing off against a Bird of Prey owned by the Duras Sisters. Unbeknownst to the crew of the Enterprise, Geordi's visor has been modified to transmit his visuals to the nearby enemy ship. This allows the Klingons to read the Enterprise's shield frequency so that they can set their weapons to match and defeat it.

Problem #1: Why was the Enterprise unable to detect this transmission? No dialogue in the film suggests that there was anything unusual about the VisorCam. Let's put that aside.

In any case, the Enterprise was a vastly superior vessel, in combat terms, to the 20-year old Bird of Prey.
"That is a Galaxy Class starship we are no match for them." - B'Etor

This should have been a complete wipe.

The sequence of events:

The battle begins at time 00:00.

00:00: The Bird of Prey fires a single torpedo at the Enterprise which strikes her in the forward section of the secondary hull, not slowed at all by the ship's deflector shields.
00:03 The Bird of Prey fires a second torpedo. The second hit strikes just above the spot struck by the first.
00:06 Worf reports that "They have found a way to penetrate our shields."
00:10 Commander Riker orders Worf to lock phasers and return fire.
00:11 Enterprise fires a single phaser blast, striking the Bird of Prey but not penetrating her shields.
00:13 The Bird of Prey fires two disruptor blasts, striking Enterprise in the secondary hull on the port side just aft of the navigational deflector.
00:19 Riker orders Cmdr Troi to take the helm and break orbit.
00:22 Data reports a hull breach on decks 31-35. (This is in the secondary hull, though it is unclear which hit cause the hull breach Data is referring to.)
00:24 The Bird of Prey fires two disruptor blasts, which miss.
00:26 The Bird of Prey fires two more disruptor blasts, missing again.
00:28 The Bird of Prey fires two more disruptor blasts, striking Enterprise in the port warp nacelle.
00:32 Enterprise sustains another hit, but we don't know what weapon or where the hit was located.
00:41 Enterprise is hit again, but we don't know what weapon or where the hit was located.
00:54 Enterprise is hit again, but we don't know what weapon or where the hit was located.
01:01 Enterprise is hit again, but we don't know what weapon or where the hit was located.
01:07 Enterprise is hit again, but we don't know what weapon or where the hit was located.
01:12 Enterprise is hit again, but we don't know what weapon or where the hit was located.
01:14 Enterprise is hit again, but we don't know what weapon or where the hit was located.
01:23 Enterprise is hit again, but we don't know what weapon or where the hit was located.
01:27 A Klingon officer reports that shields are holding. This is the only evidence we have that Enterprise returned fire beyond the first phaser blast at 00:11. Either that or it took him over a full minute to report the initial hit hadn't disabled shields.
01:29 B'Etor orders the weapons officer to fire at will.
01:31 Enterprise is hit again, but we don't know what weapon or where the hit was located.
01:32 Riker at last orders Worf to prepare a spread of torpedos.
01:36 Enterprise is hit again, but we don't know what weapon or where the hit was located.
01:40 The Bird of Prey fires two disruptor blasts at Enterprise, and misses.
01:42 The Bird of Prey fires two disruptor blasts at Enterprise, and misses.
01:43 The Bird of Prey fires two more disruptor blasts, with at least one of them striking Enterprise in the secondary impulse drive exhaust.
01:51 Enterprise is hit again, but we don't know what weapon or where the hit was located.
02:00 Data initiates an ionic pulse, forcing the Bird of Prey to lower her shields to cloak.
02:09 Riker orders Worf to fire.
02:10 Enterprise fires a single torpedo at the Bird of Prey.
02:20 The torpedo hits the Bird of Prey
02:29 The Bird of Prey explodes.

Notes:

The Enterprise is only seen firing is weapons twice. A phaser blast at the beginning, and the torpedo that ended the fight. We may assume there were more shots in there, but onscreen we witness 9 shots form the Bird of Prey to the Enterprise's 2. Additionally, sounds and camera shake inside Enterprise clue us in on an additional 10 hits. Riker spends a lot of time walking around the bridge and talking to people, and Worf spends considerable time in conversation with Riker. At no time does Riker issue further orders to fire weapons (until the end) nor does Worf seem to be focusing on his tactical console. We have no evidence to suggest that the Enterprise was doing anything other than trying to flee, other than the Klingon officer commenting that shields were holding.

Yes, the Enterprise was running without effective shields, but much was made in this move of the immense superiority of the Enterprise vs. the Klingon ship. Even with shields down, Enterprise should have been able to put up a fight and possibly destroy the Klingons outright with a spread of torpedos or sheer volume of fire. This wasn't even attempted.

Further, at no time did it seem to have occurred to anyone to start modulating the shield frequency, as had been done successfully against the Borg on several occasions. True, they did not know how the Klingons were getting through the shields, but this would have been an easy thing to do and wasn't even tried. We can see, visually, that Enterprise's shields were up the whole time, so even thinking of that idea later in the fight would have been useful.

In short, what could have been a much more satisfying and exciting battle was, instead, rendered as an execution. If I were a Starfleet admiral, I'd strip Riker of his rank and toss him in the brig for:
  • Failure to adequately secure the ship from anomalous transmissions
    Failure to exert best efforts to restore shield function
    Failure to employ the ship's defensive weapon systems against a hostile attacker
    Failure to attempt to outmaneuver a hostile vessel
And Picard doesn't get off the hook either.
  • Abandoning his post when being confronted by hostile forces
    Enabling an enemy force to breach starship security with an electromagnetic transmitter
These actions all contributed to the loss of U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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