Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ultimate Star Trek: Sensor Dish vs. Navigational Deflector Dish


Hey there true believers.  I am back with another one of those "how Ultimate Star Trek is different from Canon Star Trek" posts.  The topic this time is the Sensor Dish vs. Navigational Deflector Dish.  This should be fun.

Like the Sound of Music, let's start at the beginning (a very good place to start).

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What is that dish/antenna on the front of the Enterprise?  Is it a communications dish?  Well according to the guy who designed the ship, Matt Jefferies, it was.  That said not one single reference to it in the original series ever addressed what it was so no one really knew outside of documentation from production.

Then this happened;

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For many decades the closest thing we had available to us was the Star Fleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph.  This document, while not canon, is also the base for the Star Fleet Battles table-top miniatures game.  If you click on that image it also refers to that as the "main sensor".  Hmmmmm?  That almost makes sense.

But wait!  I know from watching TNG that it is referred to as the Navigational Deflector Dish!  They use it all the time to do amazing things!  It is what keeps the ship safe from space debris and meteorites!  Also it is the greatest writer's Deus ex machina!

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See that's how the almost beat the BORG!


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Or did ANYTHING on Voyager!

Now this drives me insane on so many levels.  First up though, let's look at the Navigational Deflector argument.

The concept of nav deflectors is that they repel the vast amount of space dust and debris that would rip right through the hull of a starship moving at the speeds we see in Star Trek.

To me this meant that there was a constant energized field around the ship that was deflecting this stuff.  Now if you think that dish is the navigational deflector, I need to ask a question;  What about the ships that don't have one?  Are they just lucky?  Made of thicker material?

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So naturally they have some sort of navigational deflectors that don't require a dish to function.  So why put a big dish on the other ships but not on these?  This has lead to many many fan designs that do this;

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There are others but I will spare you this.  To me that just looks bloody silly.  Really, I mean that just ... ugh!

Well you can argue why and why not as much as you like, but for Ultimate Star Trek it is because that dish is an Enhanced Sensor Dish.  Something that is added to many starships that might have to do more exploration or what have you.  While all ships have sensors, the ships with a sensor dish are just that much better and usually even have better labs and science facilities on board.

Also the sensor dish can be tied into the tactical systems allowing for them to be far more useful in combat, picket duty, border patrol, etc...

So sum up, that is a sensor dish, not a navigational deflector dish or a do-whatever-I-want-magic-god-dish.

Cheers!

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