PolySciFi Blog

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Another Star Trek thought

Coming out of the discussion over on Dean's World, there's always been a couple things that bother me about the Picard Maneuver.

In the Picard Maneuver, two ships are separated by a good distance so that it takes light several seconds to travel from one ship to another. Ship A then warps up next to Ship B and opens fire. To Ship B, it appears, at least for several seconds, that it is suddenly fighting two Ship A's.

Sounds like a good tactic in general, and I thought it was kind of obvious. In fact a little too obvious for the Federation to take a couple hundred years of having warp technology to figure out the Picard Manuever. I mean, sure there's a lag between the invention of technology and its proper application on the battlefield, but really. It's even worse when you consider that aliens had warp drive technology for a lot longer than the humans.

"I have a faster than light engine. I wonder what'll happen if I use it to move around quickly in battle."

However, the Federation did recognize the value and made it a part of standard Star Fleet instruction. But that leads me to my second issue.

Why isn't every battle fought by ships dropping in and out of warp? No really.

In addition to the powerful offensive tactic, the use of warp drive in battle for defensive tactics ought to negate every weapon ever introduced into the Star Trek universe. Say your opponent fires his frickin laser or his photon torpedo. Both of these have to travel at the speed of light or less. Just warp away before they hit.

Surely the Federation would think of this as the Picard manuever was supposedly mandatory for all StarFleet cadets. I mean really, screw cloaking. Randomly warping around the battlefield ought to be a far better tactic. It's like your own hall of mirrors but in space.

Instead, the Federation, and admittedly all other alien races, seem to have adopted a "float like a brick, sting like a bee" strategy.

I imagine the following would happen if I had been on the bridge for a single episode.

Me: Sir, they're firing their lasers/photon torpedos.
Star Fleet Officer: Let's sit here and see if our shields can take it.
Me: Wouldn't warping like even a kilometer to the right seem prudent? Better yet, let's repeatedly warp around the battlefield and take a quick potshot at the other ship each time we drop out of warp.
Star Fleet Officer: Nah, let's sit here and take it like a man. Then we can all jump out of our seats when we inevitably get hit.
Me: Screw this. I'm going to the holodeck for some "services" before I die. Even if we survive this moronic battle, my red uniform is the kiss of death as soon as there's an away mission.

Is there any doubt as to why Q held humans in such low regard? And don't even get me started on the de rigeur 2-D battlefields (there were at least a few exceptions to this, but not too many).


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