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Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 5,425
# 110
02-28-2013, 04:38 PM
Originally Posted by squishkin View Post
I know what you're arguing and I'm saying the definition of post-scarcity you're using is impossible.

A culture can still be "post-scarcity" and still not have enough ships to fight off any potential aggressor (to say nothing of the actual technical superiority or inferiority of those opponents).

The idea that "post scarcity" = "infinite warships capable of stopping any potential foe" is malformed on almost every level; it's not even wrong, it's fractally wrong.
I don't think you need starships to fight a starship.

You just need to use replicators in incredibly complex ways.

If you want to get right down to, this whole isn't and should never be governed by logic.

If you go by logic, as one poster used to argue, any one shuttle could be used to annihilate a planet with a warp impact.

The reason why that doesn't happen has nothing to do with logic and everything to do with writers who, if necessary, would invent rules to keep that from happening or make it an isolated occurrence because it would destroy dramatic storytelling if any ship with shuttles could destroy any target.

Likewise with the scarcity of replicators thing, which the writers have tried to have both ways on. Not for any kind of sound in-universe logic (replicators already violate mass-energy conversion routinely) but so they can have them just effective enough to be cool and just ineffective enough so that people can't just use replicators in place of shields to replicate physical barriers around ships to absorb kinetic weapon impacts. That is, until somebody with the budget thinks it will be a cool visual and then it will happen, consistency be doggoned.

At the end of the day, Star Trek is more allegory than simulation. But the boundaries and limits have always and will always bend to whatever somebody thinks would make a cool plot.

If a writer wants to say human beings or soong-type androids can't be replicated, they'll do that. If it advances a theme, it will suddenly be possible. And it might have horrible consequences in one episode (oh, no! defective copy!) and in the next be part of a mind bending twist ending where lovable crewman #1 dies but replicates his body at the last second.

Trek is governed by possibilities more than rules. And by and large, if it happens offscreen, nobody will mention replicators (without the ability to frabicate starships) as a means of fending off a hostile invasion force.

But take the recent news stories about 3D printers being able to create most of the materials needed to make 3D printers coupled with the news about 3D printers being used to make ammunition and I guarantee if Trek were on the air today, you'd have a whole episode where a culture gets replicators and manages to change the course of their history and pose a threat to warp capable species without even using the replicators to make starships. They'd just have to replicate viruses or living DNA or physical barriers that make their fortress replicate and regenerate faster than orbital bombardment can penetrate its walls.

And it'd be twice as likely if a Starfleet engineer who starred on the show came up with the idea.

Or you'd have someone hack the replicators on a ship and have them produce water continuously until it drowns all the crew on one deck of a ship.

And personally, I regard DS9 and Voyager as doing a lot of cheating to make future technology and future humans more relatable to modern audiences whereas TNG under Gene deliberately set out to make them difficult or impossible to relate to.