Forum:Star Trek:TOS "Balance of Terror" photon torpedoesEdit
This is a topic that I've been curious about for 40 years...you'll notice that when the Enterprise fires its phasers, it appears that Photon Torpedoes are launched and detonated...as you know, phasers are fired in streams...this is, of course, a production flaw, but I've always wanted to explain it as an ongoing refit of the Enterprise's weapons systems...I'm offering up a possible explanation that hopefully you all will continue to add to...in Star Trek: Enterprise, Archer's Enterprise did have the tradition "stream-style" phasers, so we know they existed...
Kirk's new Enterprise still continued to go through refits...at the time of this Romulan encounter, they did not have phaser banks, but only photon torpedoes...it is possible that the new Constitution-class starships decided to go with Photon Torpedoes as their main source of defense at first...phasers are powered off the warp drive and require much warp power to operate...it is possible that Star Fleet Command thought engine power was more important than weapons at first on these new Constitution-class starships...
Kirk's crew referred to the photon torpedoes as "phasers", as that was all that the new "Constitution-class" starships carried at the time...
Possibly after their battle with Mark Leonard and the Romulans, the Enterprise was refitted with standard-stream phasers and traditional photon torpedoes (named as such) to combat the possible Romulan threat...you will remember that the phaser control circuit and transfer coils burned out after many fires with Spock having to conduct repairs...also, a "phaser-crew" and "control room" had to fire them...this lead to problems such as the control room having a defective panel...this relay circuit burned out and filled the room with hazardous gas...also, response-time time for firing was also slow, which would give the opposing ship an advantage in a fight...when the Romulans moved in, Spock was forced to fire the phasers himself from the control room...
You will notice in other earlier episodes "The Corbomite Maneuver" and "Arena", that the Enterprise weapons start to take shape with each refit...In "The Corbomite Maneuver", we see the streams, but a crew still had to be on staff to support the phasers Bailey locked and fired...this is seen when they go through Kirk's ordered drills...In "Arena", Sulu is able to fire both phasers and photon torpedoes traditionally, without any "pre-arming" crew from any phaser control room..."Arena" shows us that the Enterprise has completed its refit...
Let me know what you think... -- Jim G. 17:35, July 4, 2006
- Well, despite what they looked like they definitely were not photons. I don't think any self respecting captain, let alone one of Kirk's caliber, would accidentally call photons phasers. As for non-stream characteristics, we have seen many phasers that did not fire in streams. The Miranda-class Reliant fired something more like pulses, and the Defiant-class' primary weapons are the pulse phasers. Also, the Federation attack fighter was seen firing pulses.
- As for the phaser circuits overloading, they were being used in a mode they were not really designed for. I think the dialogue called it "proximity detonation" mode, or something. Whatever made that work (granted, I can't explain how a directed energy weapon would do that) would seem to quickly overload the circuits, hence why it is not used again. It was only used here because it was useful against the primitive cloaking device that the Bird-of-Prey was using
- The control room pre-arming can be explained partly the same way. The weapons were being used in a way they were not designed to be, and thus needed more direct manual control. --OuroborosCobra talk 21:57, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
- um, stock footage? does stock footage really need an explanation? I mean... why not ask "Why is it that the Enterprise is always orbiting the exact same color corrected planet in every episode?" It doesn't need a 'canon' explanation, it's stock footage, the magic of Star Trek--220.127.116.11 03:43, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
- First I do agree with the explanation of the mode of the phasers being used in a different mode know as being set for proximity blast verses say standard mode. I do think that this accounted for the unusual phaser stream and yes it did appear similar to photon torpedo shots. As for the control circuit burn out, perhaps it was merely the writer of this episode wanting to have the Enterprise in a situation where it was helpless. Had photon torpedoes been fitted on the Enterprise at this time? Without phasors being possible to detonate the plasma shot, when the Romulans de-cloaked to fire their energy-enveloping weapon that forced an implosion, we got to see that the Enterprise was a very versatile ship. Kirk had to call for full reverse emergency warp speed to try and out run the plasma shot from the Romulans. Even though the plasma shot was gaining on the Enterprise in full warp reverse it bought them enough time for the plasma shot to start dissipating. Without the full reverse warp speed the Enterprise could have been destroyed.
- Later episodes do indeed show that the Enterprise was fitted with photon torpedoes and the phasers were used in stream mode operation after that retro fit. Also the phasers were sometimes linked to the computers for fire control. Eliminating the need and the delay of human reaction time to fire the phasers. -- Cecil C. 13:01, September 26, 2006
- Guys, this was specifically because at this point in the show... it was one of the first few created... they hadn't solidified everything that was on the Enterprise yet. In point of fact, it seems Photon Torpedoes were directly a result of this particular episode. Originally, they had conceived of "laser-like" energy weapons we call phasers, but Roddenberry et al hadn't yet realized that there are situations were the dynamics of direct-energy weapons wouldn't be suitable. (And more importantly, they hadn't considered the dramatic potential involved therein.) This was one of them. The intended idea was that of a destroyer hunting a submarine or such, and taking blind shots with depth charges. In creating the show, they realized that "phasers" being ray gun type things, just weren't suited for that. However, before the end of the first season they talk about the ship having torpedoes, and there wasn't an episode before that where they were getting outfitted with them, they were just there. Safe to assume that some form of torpedo was always there. It wouldn't surprise me, nor would it bother me in the least, if a revised version was created where what they are firing is called photon or photonic torpedoes, it was the intention even though it wasn't fully materialized yet. And I agree with the "stock footage" issue. This episode created the footage later routinely used for torpedoes. So there is a strong indication of intent. --JCoyote 22:45, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
- The point of this site is to explore the possibility of the Enterprise as a real ship with respect to fitting retro-fits to the ship based on the chronological run of the series.
- We all know that this was the first STAR TREK series and that certain things had not been thought about.
- I do not mean anything critical about what has been offered so far. Please just read the very first entry carefully and you will see that this is the intent of this site. By the way have you seen STAR TREK the original series since they have re-done some of the spaceship sequences? Very cool! --Cecil C. 13:06, September 26, 2006
Not a phaser settingEdit
Is it possible that the proximity blast was not a phaser setting at all? Perhaps it was this. The phasers were modulated to the shield frequency of the photon torpedoes. Then a photon torpedo was fired blindly and a phaser as fired. The phaser would detonate the torpedo. The torpedo would go off without hitting anything, just like we see on screen. Kirk could have meant "set up the phaser systems for proximity fire". This could have been stressful on the phaser's power coils (the ship is firing two weapons simultaneously), and the weapon would almost have to be fired from the phaser-photon torpedo control room so that the two weapons could be fired this way (phaser using torpedo shield frequency). 18.104.22.168 21:28, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
- Why couldn't the Enterprise have pulse phasers? Since constant stream phasers used more power the pulse ones didn't. Even though they used stream phasers in earlier episodes they reverted back to pulse phasers temporarily because the stream ones still had power issue problems and hadn't been perfected yet or Kirk thought proximaty phaser pulses would work better than the limited strike area of phaser streams. Nythawk 2/2013
- There is no indication that one setting uses more power, or is more problematic, than the other. and "proximity blast" is stated to simply be a phaser setting in the original series writer's guide, so no need to speculate that there is some strange unknown technology involved in it. --Pseudohuman (talk) 15:16, February 26, 2013 (UTC)