Newbie questions about star trek

I’ve been watching Enterprise for the last few months, as well as a few Voyager reruns…also STII, IV, and V. So I’m not nearly as familiar with most things about the ST universe. Please don’t hurt me:)

-Why is the original Enterprise (1701) of that design? It takes a long walk to get to the warp nacelles, and the semi-cylinder-like part seems to just present a larger target.

-Why, in all ships, are the warp nacelles not directly behind the ship’s center of gravity?

-Where are the emissions from the impulse reactors? (propellants have to go somewhere…)

-When two ships meet, why are they always facing the same direction? (i.e. both ships’ “up” is the same direction)

-Why is the bridge in such a vulnerable spot?

-When ship A fights ship B, why doesn’t ship A just calculate ship B’s shield frequency so that it can penetrate it?

-Why are all aliens humanoids with forehead ridges?

-When an alien is being translated with the UT, why does its face still look like it’s speaking English?

-Why is there no television?

-Why can communicatons travel instantaneously? I’m always trying to see if there’s a lag time, but at distances like ST, there should be years before they arrive.

-Why do all ships have streamlined parts, but the positioning of the nacelles and sometimes other parts make the ship 1) not streamlined as a whole and 2) a bigger target?
There are more, but I can’t think of them now

Many of your questions have no satisfactory answers, except “it’s just a tv show.”

As far as the ships being not well designed for combat (large profile, exposed bridge and nacelles, etc) remember that Federation ships are primarily designed for exploration and (later) diplomatic missions, not primarily military missions. So function and (later) comfort of the crew are a higher priority than offensive/defensive capability.

Yes, all aliens in ST are humanoid with forehead ridges. Or almost all of them. Annoying ain’t it?

There is no television that we know of in the sense that we are familiar with, but we have seen Archer and his crew watching recorded video (water polo) and movies. Next Gen crews had access to other entertainment, like holodecks.

Universal translators and the orientation of ships that meet in space: because it’s TV. Actually there are a whole lot of problems with the UTs but it’s best not to think about them.

The Next Gen episode “The Chase” tries to explain the similarity of body plan between the alien species as the result of a “creator race” seeding the galaxy with similar DNA. It doesn’t work that well on a logical level (when did evolution gain an end point to work toward?), but they at least try to explain it. The real reason, of course, is budget.

Phil Farrand, the Grand High Nitpicker of Star Trek, has facetiously posited that the UT has a holographic component which masks out the natural lip movements and projects movements which synch up with the translated speech. Phil has also noted that the UT would be an acceptable deus ex machina for the language problem if the writers of the shows didn’t keep trying to explain how it works, because they always end up complicating things unnecessarily.

I’m under the impression that no living thing can be “in” the warp nacelles since it houses burning-hot warp plasma.

The warp nacelles don’t work in the conventional sense of your everyday rocket. They distort space by emitting warp bubbles in such a way so that the ship can “warp” nearby space to move at FTL (faster-than-light) speeds.

This may be a cheesy answer but: they can “spot” each other through sensors and rotate to face each other in the same orientation.

I don’t think they’ve come up with a way to calculate shield frequencies at a glance.

Why watch TV when you can start your own harem on a holodeck?

Subspace communications supposedly travel faster than light, something to do with being in an alternate or hidden dimension.

Actually, in the last Tech Guide I read (DS9), subspace communications travel 60 times faster than the maximum warp speed possible on current-generation starships.

Not that this hasn’t been violated regularly. Trek isn’t really known for technological consistency, despite the efforts of a legion of fans determined to make everything fit.

It should also be noted that a lot of the technological inconsistencies are, as Skammer wrote above, “because it’s TV”. Space is big. Really big. (Apologies to Douglas Adams). The distances involved in real life would require hours of delay time, even with subspace communications. This does not make for good television. The original series got away with it by having the Enterprise rarely try to “call home”. The later series made a huge mess of it.

An early episode of Enterprise dealt with deploying “subspace radio buoys” and the subsequent destruction of those buoys by a hostile alien ship - it was mentioned that if one or two more buoys were taken out, Enterprise would be out of touch with Earth until they could backtrack far enough for a signal. “Subspace radio” has always been the explanation for instantaneous communication over great distances since the original series. They take great pains not to explain how it works, simply that it does and the time lag is minimized. Unless it’s more dramatic to have to wait for a response.

Actually, they don’t. There aren’t any emissions from the impulse engines, nor do they consume power; the process of the engines operating regenerates the power as it is used up. They can run forever so long as nothing breaks. They turn them on, and the ship starts to move. Handy, huh?

So they could have that nice little dome window on top.

In all fairness though, you could ask the same question about modern naval ships.

Actually, I recall an episode of NextGen (may have been the one where Q gets exiled from the continuium) where the lip movements of an alien race weren’t in sync with the UT. Curiously enough, the UT also gave the race somewhat of a Japanese accent, which made for a rather good “kung-fu godzilla theater” effect.

Then how did Excelsior track the cloaked Klingon bird of prey in Undiscovered Country?

A lot of these questions can’t really be answered, other than to give the good old Mystery Science Theater 3000 explanation:

“If you’re wondering how he eats and breathes, and other science facts/ Just repeat to yourself ‘it’s just a show, I should really just relax!’”

As for the issues that can be resolved/justified, I’m too lazy and stupid to bother. So there.

Best o’luck in your quest, though, athelas, and welcome!!

They had just upgraded to the latest model DisContinuity Detector.

Aren’t the impulse engines just advanced ion rockets? In that case, there has to be emission.

Was there ever any follow-up to that episode in TNG where the Federation imposed a Warp 5 speed limit on vessels because it appeared that warp travel was actually damaging “the fabric of space-time”? Probably not.

Silly show. Some hot chicks, though.

It was only through that one area of the quadrant. Like a school zone.

athelas, here is a good source of info.

Exceptions (from TOS) include:

“The Companion” - Metamorphosis - a sentient energy-cloud

the Horta - Devil In The Dark - a mobile sentient rock

Yarnek - TheSavage Curtain - a bipedal lump of sentient magma

the Gorn - Arena - a man-sized intelligent allosaurus

Korob and Sylvia - Catspaw - tiny little sock puppets :smiley:

the Organians - Errand of Mercy - sentient balls of light

the salt vampire - The Man Trap - only very broadly speaking humanoid

Medusans (such as Kollos) - Is There In Truth No Beauty? - form unknown; luminous; either too hideous or too beautiful to be viewed without going mad (Spock, with a protective eyeshield, seemed to find Kollos quite charming)

the Tholians - The Tholian Web - sentient crystals

and probably some others I can’t call to mind right now.

Obviously, funny humanoids are easier to cast :slight_smile:

The galaxy (ours and most others) are not amorphous collections of space; they tend to be “lens-shaped”, i.e., a disk which is thicker in the center and thinner at the edges (yes, and sometimes composed of two spiral arms, but you take my meaning).

Now, this is pure speculation on my part, but I would think that a ship might tend to travel with its orientation such that the galactic axis (that is, the vector normal to the plane of the disk) is considered “up”. Therefore, there are only two possible orientations that would be considered “normal”. So you would expect other ships to either be oriented like yours is, or else upside down.

Make sense?..Timmy

I believe there was an ‘official’ explanation that it was easier for ships to orient themselves along the plane of the galaxy itself. Somehow things like communications and motion seemed to operate better. Something like that anyway.

There is also a Battle Bridge, which is buried deeper in the center of the primary hull, for safety. It has appeared in a couple of episodes, but I am no Trek-expert so couldn’t tell you which they were.

I’ll bow to others’ superior pedantic skills for the most part, but the one thing I do know is that “center of gravity” is probably a meaningless concept in space.

But then, there’s probably inertia and mass and other bighead brainy science stuff I’m not taking into account which would make the question a valid one.

They’re a more advanced civilization.

Accoring to Okuda, the warp nacelles have to be somewhat separated from the ship proper in order for the ship not to be affected in strange ways. Seems like a funny way to explain it. If someone has The Star Trek Encyclopedia, could you look that up? I’ll try to find it later if no one else posts.

a TNG show refrenced TV as one of the vices Man gave up. The one with the icy dead people. But, they have holodecks! How much of vice could THAT be?