The Quasi Mystical Nature of the Phaser/Disruptor

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TheRedFear
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The Quasi Mystical Nature of the Phaser/Disruptor

Post by TheRedFear » Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:54 pm

Ok, I don't really have any "proof" of this theory, other than observation and what seems to me, to be common sense, but you''re a brainy bunch. So I figure, if this makes sense, you all can prove it. If it doesn't, you can disprove it, point and laugh at my stupid ideas, and tell me i'm an idiot. I'm not the most eloquent speaker so if this seems kinda rambling and all over the place i'm sorry.

We're reminded often that Phasers/Disruptors are an evolution of Lasers and most energy weapons. This often raises points like "Well Lasers can have wildly different energy levels so this doesn't make sense". And often, when talking about the amount of raw energy phasers and disruptors put out, they're not as high as one would expect from the visual effects we witness.

My understanding of this has always been that Phasers/Disruptors have evolved beyond reliance on raw energy output for their damage. Yes, there is a measure of thermal energy output. You see that in the phaser burns, but i've always been of the mind that mostly, Phasers/Disruptors do EXACTLY what their names imply.

They like...if this is the right word i'm looking for...subatomically and/or molecularly(If there's a difference) "phase" and "disrupt" any matter they strike. Kinda like, say a harmful variation of Transporter technology, or the phase(There's that word again) cloak. The surface of a person or object right where the phaser/disruptor strikes is sorta...like...put out of phase with the rest of the body for just a second or so. Then, for good measure, a little bit of thermal energy damage is thrown in too.

Mind you, I don't think the material struck is COMPLETELY phased. There was this Sci Fi RPG a while back called Aeon Trinity. I won't go into detail, but suffice to say in this RPG there was a group of people who had the super power to Phase themselves through solid matter. However, the power was kind of crude, in that these people did not Phase completely, in the way we think of it. When they Phase, their bodies hover betweem solid, and immaterial. This gives them just enough solidity to avoid falling through the floor, but, allows them to move through walls. The rub, is that to move through a wall, they have to really push through it, and it's extremely painful. And if you were to take a chunk of the wall, samples of their blood, and tissue would be found suffused through the material even though they still come through in one peice.

THAT is what I think Phasers and Disruptors do. The area they strike becomes sorta half-phased.

Of course, the setting on the phaser effects just how severe this Phasing effect is I imagine that's a truamatic thing to do to an organic body, even for a fraction of a second, which I think explains the stun settings. The stun settings phase that part of the body they strike for a fraction of a second, but terminate before any serious tissue damage is done, and DONT throw any thermal damage in for good measure. The specific stun setting perhaps just influences how deep past the surface the phasing effect carries, or how many fractions of a second it lasts before allowing the tissue to resolidify.

The low-to-mid lethal settings do the same thing, but also burn the semi-phased tissue or material, allowing for the burns on organic beings or explosions on inorganic targets.


And then, at the highest lethal settings, what the Phaser/Disruptor is doing is essentially the equivalant of locking a Transporter onto somebody, deconstructing them, and then not bothering to reconstruct them. The Disruptor/Phaser's just not as nice about it as the Transporter is. When the phasers actually start vaporizing people and things they're completely taking them apart on the molecular level, starting at the point of impact, and spreading out from there.

And then, just because phasers are all around badass tools of technological magichood, they can also be adjusted for pure thermal energy output when the weilders wants to use them as tools for carving, welding, or heating rocks, whatever.

Anyway, that's what I think Phasers/Disruptors do. they half-phase what they hit, then throw some thermal energy in for good measure. That's why Trek Shields often stand up well to raw energy(Say, the corona of a sun for example), or completely dismiss the danger posed by most(but MAYBE not the most extreme heights) laser weapons. Trek weapons have gone beyond reliance on raw energy output, into levels of technology that's almost mystical in that there's absolutely no way it could ever happen if you're entrenched yourself in real world science.

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Post by Praeothmin » Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:09 pm

Well, you've actually expanded on the description given by the Star Trek TNG technical manual.

They basically say the same thing you did, only using a lot less words.

I don't think this idea is stupid, except that means that Phasers can be pure DET weapons (exploding rocks anyone?), or a funky-effect weapon.

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Post by 2046 » Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:39 pm

Semi-off-topic:

1. Newsletter . . . hehehe.
2. "And if you were to take a chunk of the wall, samples of their blood, and tissue would be found suffused through the material" . . . . how delightfully, spookily icky. I've never really thought in-depth about the mechanics of transporting inside solid rock, but the thought of taking samples of rock and tracing someone's movements through it via tissue residue is chilling on some level.

As for the rest, yes, you're in the ballpark. Some have called the phaser/disruptor vaporizations a "POOC"ing . . . Phasing Out Of the Continuum.

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Post by TheRedFear » Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:41 am

Cool, didn't realize it was already in the manual, or that we already haad a slang term for it. lol

The technical manual's not canon though right? Any canon evidance at all for this? Cuz I figure you can shut down alot of the Warsie "Ha ha ha, look at how much raw energy we output" arguments by pointing out Trek has evolved beyond such primitive notions as raw energy output.

Assuming there's anything that canonically backs up the POOC effect.

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Post by GStone » Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:58 pm

The sudden, and harmless to the external environment, disappearance of matter demonstrates a process that isn't pure 'brute force' heating/over-excitation of energy. If it did happen that way, you'd see something like what happened in the War of the Worlds movie (the one with Tom Cruise). People burst into what appears to be dust particles. If you were to ramp up the energy output to turn those visible particles into invisible gases or even pure energy, the surrounding effects on the environment would be apparent to the naked eye, but they aren't. Only in the very rare instances have we ever seen the 'vaporization' setting to have any effect on objects other than what takes the brunt of the blast. Those are the exceptions.

This leaves open the possibility that even the heating/thermal effects seen with some objects at lower setting might not entirely be regular heating, but a variation of/lower net result of the standard methodology of the phaser, if all settings had one underlying principle for every setting and the differences between the settings was how pervasive the method was on the object struck.

I have written to both Sternbach through his website and Paramount Studios for Okuda to see what they used as a basis for the phaser entry because I read an interview that said they had gotten their ideas together for TNG tech and wrote them down and they became the tech manual. I was hoping that, since there is a lot of real world science and theory used in Trek, disregarding when they go really out there with it, that the phaser would have had some basis in reality with some weird theory they came across. However I have yet to hear something. If I don't soon, I'll be writting again.

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Post by Praeothmin » Fri Sep 14, 2007 4:26 pm

GStone wrote:Only in the very rare instances have we ever seen the 'vaporization' setting to have any effect on objects other than what takes the brunt of the blast. Those are the exceptions.

This leaves open the possibility that even the heating/thermal effects seen with some objects at lower setting might not entirely be regular heating, but a variation of/lower net result of the standard methodology of the phaser, if all settings had one underlying principle for every setting and the differences between the settings was how pervasive the method was on the object struck.
Well, we seem to see a lot more "vapor" when the Phaser hits something dense, like the bulkheads in the DS9 episode where Kira and Sisko try to rescue trapped people by vaporising (we see the smoke) part of the bulkhead.

We see it in TNG when Riker and Data vaporize an allow (not sure about the name) to distract someone.

The Q episode where Riker fires at a rock and it explodes (the rock, not Riker :)... ).

These all seem pretty much some DET effects to me.

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Post by GStone » Fri Sep 14, 2007 4:54 pm

Effects, yes. But, it's possible that the method used to create the DET effects might be non-DET. Possibly a less controlled version of what's happening. Or a setting in those situations that is insufficient for the material it's used against. A higher setting could cause the less explosive and more extensive effects, unless the material itself and/or the amount of it is more than what the hand phaser is expected to go up against.

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Post by TheRedFear » Fri Sep 14, 2007 5:57 pm

Now i betray my own stupidity...what's DET?

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Post by Praeothmin » Fri Sep 14, 2007 6:42 pm

TheRedFear wrote:Now i betray my own stupidity...what's DET?
Now you betray the stupidity we all exhibited in our beginnings... :)

Direct Energy Transfer weapons... DET for short... :)

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Post by Mike DiCenso » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:59 pm

The subject of phasers and their effects have come up before in this forum:

http://www.starfleetjedi.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=101

The link provided is the most comprehensive listing I know of to date, including showing examples of very DET-like effects, such as Worf and Tasha cutting a hole in a wall in "Too Short a Season" [TNG1]. As a reminder we know that whatever phasers do, they still require a fair amount of energy (at least a megawatt for a phaser rifle, gigawatts to terawatts for facility and ship-mounted weapons), as evidenced in spoken canon dialog. We also know from ST:ENT's "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" [S4], Mirror-Archer specifically describes the TOS Type-II phaser pistol as being capable of disintegrating a person (presumably other kinds of objects as well) on it's maximum setting. This is quite a bit different from magically shoving things out of the continuum.
-Mike

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Post by Mike DiCenso » Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:09 pm

Praeothmin wrote:
TheRedFear wrote:Now i betray my own stupidity...what's DET?
Now you betray the stupidity we all exhibited in our beginnings... :)

Direct Energy Transfer weapons... DET for short... :)

As opposed to CR weapons, which is short for "Chain-Reaction". Weapons that do not necessarily require the brute force use of large amounts of energy to heat and vaporize rock because they set off a reaction in the materials to generate the required energy. This is one of the big long-standing fights in the whole Versus debate since one side can claim superiority over the other by making it seem with a CR weapon instead of brute-force DET that the opposition is weaker, and cannot harm them as much as the opposition would like to claim. In ST versus SW, the arguements involving phasers/disruptors and the Death Star superlaser are first and foremost among these arguements.
-Mike

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Post by GStone » Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:06 pm

Just to be clear, I am not advocating some kind of CR based technology. The tech manual reads, if I read it correctly, that phaser beams are a stream of protons that come from the fugi crystal combined with EM radiation. In another section, it says phaser beams are made of nadions. They're short lived, but they must be a kind of 'altered proton' that exists for a short time, if the proton part is also held to be 'noncanon true' for manual consistency.

I'm still for DET-like effects, but ever since I really took the time to try to understand just what the fuck was being said in that part of the book, I started thinking the mechanism for the DET-like effects of the lower settings could be some physics trick, in addition to applying DET of EM radiation.

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