First off, Loving the series, keep it up!
Phasers: My take on their several settings.
Disintegrate obviously nullifies the atomic valency(?) bonds without causing an antimatter-like explosion.
There is kill setting, which seems to work like a kinetic impact on the body… and on ship hulls.
You can also cut with hand phasers; cut seems to work the same way as an oxy-acetylene torch.
You have phaser drills for mining and cutting holes/tunnels in rock.
You’ve also got heat, to various degrees.
Stun can put you out no matter where you’re hit, so it’s some kind of overload effect on the nervous system that can be carried to the brain to knock you out.
Phasers: not just a weapon; a very useful tool. 😉
Oh, and ignore FASA as much as possible. it just wasn’t well thought out. And 98% of their ship designs were horrifically ugly on top of not well thought out.
I never played FASA. I was too young and the materials weren’t readily available. What was their take on the phaser?
I have been following this strip since the captain in “No Good Deed” was put in the brig. Went back and read it from the beginning. So let me finally put down my two cents: it is at this moment, from all those I am familiar with, the very best Star Trek fan strip to be found on the net.
Great thing it is a TOS strip too (apart from the Earth-Romulan Wars). I hope Mr. Farinas never delves beyond the 2280-90s at the latest. Captain Pike era to ST-IV is were it is at. After, it all started going a bit downhill.
Here’s some questions/comments for Mr. Farinas . Feel free to ignore some, most or all of it 🙂
– Klingons: yes, give us non-viking warriors with ridges, but for the love of Landru do not go overboard on the foreheads. The Klingons from the movies looked fine physically but with and after TNG it got horrible. Today it looks like Klingons don’t really have ridges as much as full-blown “Aliens” facehugger nesting on their heads.
– Romulans: will your Romulans be the revised “we got butthurt about Surak and his teachings so we left Vulcan” type, or the older “Pathway to The Stars” conception, were ancient Vulcanians were taken from their homeworld in the far past by a precursor race and left to fend for themselves on Romulus?
– Andorians: what will your aesthetic choice for them will be? Will you go with the TOS large, curved antennae on the middle/back of the skull or the ENT smaller wormy ones nearer the forehead? Will they have ears or will you go with the concept that Andorian antennae *are* their auditory organs?
– Kzinti: Are the Kzinti and the four Man-Kzin wars of the pre-Warp era a part of your take on TOS?
– Pike Era: Are you planning on doing a story set on the Federation-Klingon Four Years War?
– Balok: Will we get to see Balok’s “First Federation” on the strip, their huge spherical ships and child-like aliens?
– Stiles: since she is dead there’s no harm in asking: was Stiles a lesbian or did she only really hate Captain Madison’s guts? 🙂
Hi, Vargr. Thanks for writing. There’s a reason I allow comments on each comic. Without a little discussion with my readers making a web comic hardly seems worth it.
– Some of your concerns are address in my Klingon Propaganda film. There are a number of aliens, including Klingon, designs.
– For the Romulans, I’ve never heard of the Preserver theory. Was that on the show, or in extended universe material?
– While Niven is a great writer and The Slaver Weapon is one of the few good TAS episodes, I wouldn’t really want to bring his Known Space stuff into Trek. It just doesn’t fit, timeline wise.
– I’m not a big fan of war in Trek so I doubt I’ll visit the Klingon one. Are we sure there was a war? I remember talk of hostilities by Picard in First Contact, but not out right war until Errand of Mercy. I have some ideas for Pike era stuff, but it’ll be while.
– I haven’t thought about the First Federation yet, but it’s an idea.
– Stiles’ sexuality was never really thought out beyond that last humorous back and forth. She could be gay, straight, or a trans woman. I just know she legitimately disliked Madison’s current attitude and she was a bit of a hawk.
– I’ll be sure to check your Klingon video. To be honest, if one ignores the stylistic excesses of later Trek and ST:Online the whole ridge vs. flat forehead issue (complete with theories about genetic manipulation and viruses) seemed a bit daft. The Klingons seen in TOS and in the original crew movies can clearly be members of different ethnicities belonging to the same alien species. There are less differences among them than between some human races.
– The Romulan variant origin is extended universe material from FASA, the company that put out the original pen’n’paper Star Trek RPG back in the early 80’s. From what I gather it was an extrapolation of what little info was available at the time about the species (which didn’t even include Diane Duane’s “Rihannsu” Pentology of books which came out later). Basically, and as it happened to other species (including humans), ancient Vulcans were seeded on Romulus much earlier, in pre-Warp times and left to fend for themselves. By the time the Romulans entered the space age they knew they were not native to their world due to the lack of any fossil record accounting for their evolution. This was in fact one of the major factors that spurred their “Path to the Stars”, the desire to find their real homeworld of origin. I prefer this story to the “Surak schism” one for several reasons:
* It explains the physical differences between Vulcans and Romulans due to long-term adaptation and natural selection on different environments (granted, this is a TNG issue).
* For the same reasons above it explains why Romulans aren’t telepathic, don’t go trough the 7 year mating cycle and why they don’t “turn savage” if they start experiencing emotions.
* It explains why the Vulcan and Romulan languages are so different that even with an interstellar war and an armistice signed over subspace radio not a single Vulcan linguist or archeologist was able to connect the dots and find a common root. So much time passed that the linguistic drift from whatever proto-Vulcan they spoke had evolved into something unrecognizable.
* It explains why the Vulcans were just has flabbergasted as everyone else after “Balance of Terror”. I do not buy it that Vulcans would have forgotten both a world war and a mass space exodus in just 2000 years, and I dislike the kooky Vulcan conspiracy theories about them knowing about Romulans and hiding the info from the Federation for about a century that some people have pulled from their rear ends to explain the “amnesia”. I mean, we have whole books and lists of Emperors on Earth from 20 centuries ago; are we expected to believe a space-faring civilization would have forgotten such massive events in the same length of time?
* It explains how the Romulans ended up on their homeworld without a Warp drive. Seriously, something doesn’t pass the smell test here. If like canon now says Romulans had Warp drives to get there, how did they forget about them? If they didn’t, then I doubt 2000 years are enough time to go with sub-light impulse all the way from what is now a core system in the center of Federation space, across what is now the Neutral Zone and beyond to Romulus system, colonize it, rebuilt a civilization and build a star empire.
* It provides a better explanation on the fierce hatred Romulans have towards their cousins than being butthurt about a philosophical difference your ancestors had two millennia ago. They have searched their true world of origin for centuries and now they find the ones left behind are a civilization with anathema values that has voluntarily subjected itself to an alien power. Just how much can a proud Romulan take? 🙂
– The “Four years War” again, is more FASA stuff based on the novels available at the time and some material from the old SpaceFlight Chronology book. What I know is as follows: their take was that the famous Battle of Axanar took place during the war. The battle is TOS canonical but the series never explicited whom the Federation was fighting. According to them the war was also responsible for the adoption of Phasers and Photon Torpedoes as standard Starlfleet ship armaments, replacing the old lasers and accelerator cannons. The war went badly for the UFP at first due to inferior numbers and then-obsolete armaments; until the Phasers and Torpedoes began changing the tide and forced the Klingon Empire to total commitment. The conflict turned into a war of attrition (as far as spaceships were concerned) forcing certain elements into the Empire to begin calling for an armistice lest the Empire implode under the strain of the war effort (the federation had more resources and facilities so it could churn out replacements and increase fleets while the Klingons were straining to replace losses alone); it did take some time until cooler heads prevailed but the Klingons threw the gauntlet. Some heads rolled and the lessons learned led the Klingons to seek technological superiority instead of just numerical. Hence their tech trade with the Romulans which led to cloaked Klingon ships.
FASA’s take on the war helps explain why the peace-loving Federation in TOS has diplomatic/scientific exploration ships armed to the teeth with enough arsenals to sterilize a Class M planet (General Order 24, anyone?) and why their space war technology is at that time equal or more advanced than that of the other major (war-mongering) space powers.
The decision to accept the armistice when the Klingons were on the run, thus negating the possibility of Starfleet taking the war across the border into their territory, did not sit well with some war veterans and colonists on Federation border systems that had taken the brunt of the initial Klingon assaults at the beginning of the war, and there was even a movement formed by some of them advocating a more militaristic stance and a strengthened presence along the borders. I assume this is what led to the UFP trade embargo and political attitude talked about in “Errand on Mercy”.
Then the Organians came and rained on everyone’s parade… 🙂
And since I’m apparently writing a bloody essay here, let me go into tech-geek mode and give my take on phasers too. 🙂
For me federation phasers are directed energy beam weapons (well, duh right?) with the cameo of being the one kind of gun in charted space you can most precisely regulate, both in power output and modulation. This allows an wide array of effects:
Heat: probably from as little as required to give you a tan up to heating rocks considerably. In this case the power output is not massive but rather sustained.
Stun: I assume a lowest setting would work has a “pain compliance” of sort. Then you’d have a wireless taser-like effect. After that we have the real “stun setting” we see on the series that overwhelms the nervous system and causes a temporary coma. I envision this level of stun to go from “completely useless” to “downright potentially lethal” depending on whom you’re shooting. A setting sufficiently strong to “heavy stun” a healthy adult human male could very well kill a small child or a frail old person with a hearth problem, by shutting down their nervous system due to massive shock. A sufficiently alien physiology or even just a different enough nervous system could be (mostly) immune to a phaser set for a normal human stun, and vice-versa.
Vaporize: what you guys were mentioning. Continued pumping vast quantities of calorific energy on something until it melts, ignites, carbonizes, etc. I do not thing most “vaporized victims” we see on the series suffer this effect because shooting enough heat at a target to vaporize it means due to heat convection whatever is around him/her/it should at least ignite.
Disintegrate: yummy 🙂 this maximum phaser setting dumps so much energy on a target so fast and at the right modulation it actually brakes the molecular bonds holding that matter together. Maybe some scorched remains…remain. Heat is certainly involved but the process happens to fast for it to be a problem.
When Kirk says “Phasers on kill” he means setting phasers to a pre-set mode that puts out enough energy to disintegrate average density carbon-based unarmored bio-matter (i.e. people). Beyond this a phaser can put out enough nasty to disintegrate solid objects of considerable denser matter than human meat; this setting would be “overkill” against most living targets.
Romulan disruptors (which I’ve only seen in TNG) I see as being much like phasers with no dial and a permanent “disintegrate” setting.
Klingon sonic disruptors come in two flavors: one really is a sound-based weapon (well…sort of) and works like those pistols in “A Taste of Armageddon”. There is no visible beam or bolt (ok, maybe a disruption in the air) and it works on a vibration principle. The structure of matter on the targeted area is suddenly disrupted and crap happens. Walls collapse, circuits and conduits spark and blow up (like when Spock shot the suicide chambers) and biological matter…ouch. I assume it has the same effect as the weapon in Heinlein’s book “Sixth Column” a.k.a. “The Day After Tomorrow”: it causes the internal pressure of cell membranes to go wonky and your either explode or implode…or both. Nasty, messy and very much Klingon-like. Later Klingon disruptors (from the movies and those massive flintlock-things from TNG) are similar to Romulan ones, except they dump their energy in a plasmoid bolt form rather than a beam. The process seems to be less efficient because the disintegration is slower, and it looks like it takes the form of a cascade effect (like when the Klingon badguy from ST-III Search for Spock shoots his weapon officer). On the other hand, I like to think it saves energy and the klingon version of the disruptor carries more “ammo”.
I think the Gorn have some sort of ubber-phaser sniper rifle on permanent disintegrate mode, judging from what happened to the rest shirt on “Arena” who was vaporized from kilometers away.
I would tend toward the Surak schism just because it’s been the accepted on air explanation and the only one I’ve ever known, but, honestly, I doubt it would ever come up. I would ignore the TNG head bumps myself. Considering most cultures on Earth created rather divergent languages fairly quickly it only makes sense that Romulan would be completely unrecognizable from Vulcan in 2000 years.
Plus, the SS Valiant made it from Earth to the Galactic Barrier on impulse. Impulse could mean anything. It’s just not warp.
Except that when you compare Romance languages today to Latin, you can usually still clearly see how related they are, with the same word roots etc. … It is, admittedly, not full 2000 years of development, but not that far from it.
Who’s to say the Proto-Romulans spoke the same language as the Vulcans who stayed on their planet?
Try comparing modern Romance languages to classical Chinese instead.
This is the problem with Star Trek monocultures. People assume an entire planet behaves the same.
Love seeing Mudd, and in such a classic way. Of course he’s an arms smuggler.
I had no clue that the phasers worked on the super heating idea. I never thought much about how the worked, but that’s pretty cool.
Great read so far, and I very much look forward to future stories.
Thanks for taking the time to entertain.
Really, who knows how they work. I just wanted a quick non-techno-babble explanation that would play into how they’re used later in the story. Phasers have been used to heat rocks, so I always assumed that was their method of disintegration. Glad to have you as a regular reader!
Love the strips so far. 🙂
I have to say, the previous strip hit all the right points, and this one has a nicely unexpected change of setting and characters.
Unfortunately, if phasers worked by super heating objects to vaporize them then everyone in that room would die when the statue explodes as it suddenly turns into a gas. It would make more sense for the laser pistols in the pilot to work purely by heating, but for phasers to be unique in that they can “vaporize” objects safely without application of heat. Don’t get me wrong, phasers are capable of heating things, too, it’s just that they can’t be using that function for their famous feature.
Except that in Omega Glory Spock is severely injured by the computer vaporized right next to him. Maybe that’s not a realistic release of energy from dense metal sublimating, but it looks like that was the intention. In the end, it’s all bad science. No matter which method you pick someone’s going to be unhappy. Even if you say “nadion particles” someone’s going to accuse you (rightly) of technobabble.
That is precisely the difference that the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “In a Mirror, Darkly, Part 2″made clear between the phase pistols and the TOS-era phaser pistols is that phasers disintegrate their target while lasers and phase weapons heat them conventionally.
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