Mr. Oragahn wrote:
Any well seasoned debator will recognize the classical arguments and implied pieces of evidence hidden within this summary.
It's both brutally honest and dishonest. The numerous pro-Trek point are quite solid, but honestly, a thousands of years old civilization used to fly megaligthic ships across a whole galaxy should have no quibbles fighting at ranges in the thousands of kilometers with laser weapons and missiles, when you see how cheap the AI can be for even the smallest droids.
Ugh, it's a shiny version of the "Star Trick is the ultimont representation of humanities potential realized, the Federation is win becuz it has teh antimatters and transporters and replicators and moar, and is invinzible to lazers and the impire doesnt even have sheilds! Beam a torpedo on there bridge! LOLTREKWINZ!" routine.
To be honest, when I very
first encountered the idea of Star Wars vs Star Trek in about 2004, with the same themed mod for the Star Trek Armada PC game, my initial reaction, after a moment’s thought, was that Trek would win. Like pitting a nuclear submarine against a WW2 battleship. I didn't give it another thought for years (the mod was buggy and crashed my computer constantly too, pity). Since reexamining such a scenario more recently though, reading between the lines, and not just accepting the knee jerk reaction that Trek "looks" and "sounds" more high tech, I think that, while Trek tech may hold the overall technological advantage, it's by a much smaller margin than entries such as this purport.
Star Trek's series typically present the crème de la crème of the Federation, disciplined rocket scientists aboard state of the art military vessels. Star Wars generally has us following back world civilians, guerrillas, politicians, warrior monks and front line troopers. It's more like taking a story set on a 1960's, or even a 1980's nuclear submarine, where the environment is cutting edge, and advanced technology and weaponry is commonly referred to. Then we compare it to a story following a modern day soldier in his barracks, where nobody talks about advanced technology, we never see any nuclear weapons in use, and it would be easy to miss the implications of the smart phone in his pocket, or the satellite positioning and other electronics in his "crude" gasoline powered vehicle. Without previous knowledge of these environments, an observer of such "fictional" environments could easily conclude that the former scenario represented a far more technologically advanced society and military.
Both franchises are rife with extremely
weak technological displays, and while such an interpretation as the one linked is not blatantly dishonest, it still represents a form of cherry picking. All the reasonable points against Star Wars are subject to doubt due to the author’s sugar coating of Star Trek's weaknesses. While a great deal of solid evidence points to extremely powerful weapons in Trek, we are still forced to assume
that this is what is used in normal combat, since the best examples are either based on dialogue, or are against the environment. Much of the combat looks, well, a lot like Star Wars.
Here is a fun source of data, in the DS9 episode "Treachery, Faith and the Great River" we see Jem'Hadar attack ships using their beams in utilitarian fashion to blast apart bodies of frozen volatiles in a Kuiper Belt (yep, big chunks of ice). Boring, but it's not a bad showing, and it doesn't necessarily represent the upper limit of these weapons. But then, after they spot their quarry, they fire shorter, but presumably more intense weaponized
variants of their beams, with the intention of crippling its shields and destroying the target. A missed shot strikes one of the big ice boulders
and we get... a small shower of ice chips. Honestly, what am I supposed to do with that? Throw it on the pile and average it out? Throw it out because it’s silly and inconvenient? Throw it to the Star Wars camp and start goose stepping to the Imperial March? Things like this complicate an "easy" Trek supremacy.
As for Star Wars being an interstellar society, yet lacking such basic military technology as the Federation clearly possesses, it is based solely on very
literal interpretations of visual effects in the films. In Star Wars, if a technology exists and is used, it typically
doesn't come with a detailed introduction in the dialogue, they simply take the gizmo and use it. However, the canon novelizations of the 6 movies do provide more detailed descriptions of certain things, in such a way as Star Trek often benefits from. Such descriptions clearly indicate that their turbo "lasers" would easily
be considered WMD's by contemporary standards, even that sub-light drives can propel craft at substantial fractions of C. Unless we just jump to the conclusion that this massive, ancient, interstellar society is just too stupid to evolve its combat beyond the tactics appropriate to 19th and early 20th century Earth, other factors must be in play.
The only major tactical consideration remaining would be that of sensor tech. The whole argument smells of a common, post 1990's perception of what "modern" warfare is
. Specifically, the idea that modern warfare is where you push a button, and then watch as the screen shows the advanced, guided ordinance fly straight into the unsuspecting target. Sure, if
your enemy is equipped with inferior weapon, sensor, and communication technology. When two determined combatants are equipped with equal quality weapon systems, and appropriate counter measures, I think it's safe to say that combat once again becomes a grueling, chaotic hell. The argument here flatly assumes
that Star Wars is automatically inferior to Star Trek. Let's look at the attack on Hoth for a moment. The rebels recognized that the heavy meteor activity in the sector would make detecting Imperial ships difficult, and Vader was pissed at Ozzel for not slipping up on the rebels instead of dropping into real space so close to the system, no doubt lighting up the rebels scopes with obvious ISD signatures. So, are Star Wars sensors just that terrible, or are their jamming/counter measure abilities just that good, such that the Empire can reduce the sensor profile of a mile long ISD to no more than that of a common asteroid? Granted, the exact power and sophistication of the Empire's sensor and jamming abilities are unknown, and a solid clue in the ever expanding canon could shift the status quo either way, but until that time, it is very
On the topic of sensor and weapon range, I might point out that making such a claim about this giving the Federation a distinct advantage is something of a double edged sword. If everything the author claimed is true, and the Federation extensively
uses sophisticated long range sensors to facilitate their combat, and if the Empire does indeed employ massive broad spectrum jamming technology, and, in turn has long resigned themselves to being forced to fight at visual range, such a turn of events would actually hinder
the Federation, who would be forced to fight the Empire's way, with weaponry designed for long range strikes. Such a scenario would turn the advantage firmly back to the Empire. Granted, I do not believe the Federation would find themselves in such a vulnerable position, namely, because evidence repeatedly indicates that visual
data is of key importance to the informed operation of Star Trek vessels. Of course, this view drags the Federation's long range capabilities back quite a way. While Trek ships don’t literally look out the window, extensive
use is made of the view screen, even during combat. Additionally, as the author did such a good job of pointing out that Federation ships are considered quite stealthy, the existence of cloaking devices
, which specifically render a ship invisible in the visible
spectrum, and the fact that they are considered a major tactical system on military vessels, should speak volumes.
The author smartly chose Voyager era Trek, as it is the latest in the chain of technological progression, and where the Federation was gearing up for the Dominion War, while avoiding the consequences of the conflict. While I don't buy that the Empire could simply strut in and effortlessly take on the Federation, Post TNG era Trek isn't as secure as the author claims. I also think it's safe to say that the season 7 TNG Enterprise could shred Season 1 TNG Enterprise several times over. My impression is, if you were to drop the Empire with the Death Star in 2364 Star Trek, the Federation would be the Empire's oyster.