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Borg Cube vs Death Star
April 4, 2012 4:26 AM   Subscribe

Borg Cube vs Death Star ...Let's hear for the geometric learning aids of the Cosmos, a big sphere and a big cube. Yay!
posted by Deathalicious (121 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you can stand the star wars fanboyism, the article is worth it for the image of Borg assimilated Ewoks.
posted by Joe Chip at 4:55 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


They seem to be assuming that the Borg can just beam over to the Death Star. But the Star Wars universe has deflector shields, and the Death Star is "ray shielded" even at those pesky exhaust ports. You can't beam through a shield in Star Trek, so by analogy I don't think the Borg can beam over.

The Death Star's main weapon can destroy a planet in a single shot. I don't believe a Borg Cube has shown that capability, so they're outgunned. It seems unlikely that Borg deflector shields are powerful enough to repel firepower of that magnitude, as Borg Cubes take damage even from Federation starships.

So basically: one-shot win to the Death Star.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:12 AM on April 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


The Borg have absolutely no chance, as Mandalorian Warrior Ninja points out in there:
Ion weapons : A constantly looked over weapon used in Star Wars. This weapon disables electronic components. The Borg may originally have been organic, but all those cute little gizmos can't stand up to this type of weapon.
Game, set, match. Gotta love them blue ion cannons.
posted by barnacles at 5:14 AM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


"... in there" as in "over in there, that thread over there, yeah, in there." not as in "in their thing they were saying." A million gold-pressed latinum for an edit window!!
posted by barnacles at 5:15 AM on April 4, 2012


Well, one problem with this kind of analysis is that you're talking about completely different types of technology. In the startrek universe, lasers are seen as a joke. But how much more powerful then lasers are phasers?

The "technlogy" in the startrek world is far more advanced. If they can deflect any type of photon weapon, then the most powerful laser in the galaxy wouldn't even put a scratch on the death star. However, if the technology level between the two is in any way comparable, then you have to assume that sheer size counts for something, right? After all the more space you have, the more energy you can store, right?

But looking at the size, there's just no comparison. The borg cube is supposedly 3km per side, while the first death star was 180km in diameter, and the second was 900 km in diameter. Which seems odd, if the first one could blow up planets, why make the second one so much larger? But either way, they are enormous.

Also, from the starwars wikia site:
The Death Stars, the Galactic Empire's ultimate terror weapons, were battle stations several hundred kilometers in diameter and mounting a directed energy superlaser capable of completely destroying a planet with a single shot along with 15000 lasers, ion, turbolasers batteries, and heavy turbolasers in all plus an additional 768 tractor beam emplacements.
So it's not just the one laser that that needs, like, several dramatic minutes to charge up. They also have a ton of regular weapons. And with those tractor beams, you'd think they could tear the borg ship apart as well.

So anyway, I don't think you can really say one way or the other. either startrek technology is so advanced that lasers are irrelevant, or if lasers can penetrate borg shields at all, then, well, the death star could evaporate it in the blink of an eye.

There's also the question of the force. Presumably darth Vader would be on this thing right? Do Jedi mind tricks work on the Borg? What happens if the Borg try to assimilate a sith lord?
posted by delmoi at 5:18 AM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow. This brings back memories. I remember being on Internet Relay Chat back int eh day when an appeal was made to stuff the ballot box to ensure that this competition was successfully resolved.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:20 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


delmoi: "Do Jedi mind tricks work on the Borg?"

Whoa.

You just blew my mind. I mean this in a good way.
posted by barnacles at 5:20 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I tried to resist chiming in but my resistance was futile. The Borg win.
posted by humanfont at 5:23 AM on April 4, 2012


The Borg have absolutely no chance, as Mandalorian Warrior Ninja points out in there:
Ion weapons : A constantly looked over weapon used in Star Wars. This weapon disables electronic components. The Borg may originally have been organic, but all those cute little gizmos can't stand up to this type of weapon.
Game, set, match. Gotta love them blue ion cannons.
From a physics standpoint that makes no sense. Ion beams are not high tech, they would be the easiest thing to deflect.

For one thing, they're not even sci-fi, ion beams been around since the early 1900s technology and widely used today. They are the basis for oscilloscopes, CRT televisions, electron microscopes, etc. Most of those work by deflecting ion beams. You just need a magnetic field. Several space probes have already used ion thrusters

Also, even without a magnetic field, an ion beam wouldn't do a lot of damage to electronics. The ions would be stopped by the hull of a ship. They would cause an increase in static charge, which could cause some problems, if things weren't properly grounded, but let's assume they are. So an ion beam would cause some local heating, but it wouldn't work as effectively as a laser and it would be way easier to deflect.
posted by delmoi at 5:27 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually ion beams have probably been around since before the 20th century. And now that I think about it, a cathode ray tube is an electron beam, not an ion beam. Same general idea, different particles. An ion is just an atom that's had one or more electrons removed, thus carries a positive charge. Then you can accelerate it, using an electric field. Do this a bunch of times, you get an ion beam.
posted by delmoi at 5:38 AM on April 4, 2012


Didn't the Borg eventually figure out a way to beam across shields - leading the Federation (was it Voyager?) to develop modulating shields that change frequency before the Borg can get a transporter lock?
If that's the case, I would imagine tha thte Death Star's shields might buy some time before a Borg boarding party arrives... but would it be enough to stop the superlaser?
posted by Wulfhere at 5:40 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and who's to say that the Borg haven't assimilated a ysalamiri or a whatever-Watto-is before, and have Force-immunity?
posted by Wulfhere at 5:43 AM on April 4, 2012


Metafilter: Meanwhile, Luke leaps to safety.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:53 AM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


the first death star was 180km in diameter, and the second was 900 km in diameter.

I find it hard to believe the Empire have the technology to build something that big and powerful when they can't shoot someone who's right in front of them.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:54 AM on April 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


From a physics standpoint that makes no sense.

Oh god yes let's discuss the physics of these franchises because that's going to be a reasonable use of everybody's time.

Next week: Metafilter discusses whether Bugs Bunny could really trick people into thinking he was a woman when he dressed up as a girl bunny.
posted by mightygodking at 5:56 AM on April 4, 2012 [21 favorites]


Bugs Bunny could really trick people into thinking he was a woman when he dressed up as a girl bunny.

Oh god that was hawt.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 5:58 AM on April 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


I vote for The Doctor.

(No, not that one. This one. Jeez.)
posted by erniepan at 6:00 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter discusses whether Bugs Bunny could really trick people into thinking he was a woman when he dressed up as a girl bunny.

Totally reasonable. Could you tell the difference between a male and female rabbit at sight? If you can't, you're left with context clues i.e. wearing lipstick and frilly dresses. It could happen to anyone, even an experienced sportsman or a lifelong cowboy.
posted by Copronymus at 6:03 AM on April 4, 2012 [30 favorites]


Oh god yes let's discuss the physics of these franchises because that's going to be a reasonable use of everybody's time.
The question is who wins Borg Cube vs. Death Star? Other then physics, what method could we possibly use to answer, or even approach that question?

Of course, we can't really answer the question now, but we can at least figure out what questions we would have to ask.
posted by delmoi at 6:04 AM on April 4, 2012


Which Borg, anyway? The cold, slow, methodical Borg of season 2? The slightly quirky Borg of season 4 who just wanted to be besties with Picard? The fast, dangerous but stupid Borg of First Contact? Or the hot-and-cold, love-you-one-week-hate-you-the-next marshmallow-weapon'd Borg of Voyager?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:07 AM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


The question is absurd, because the Death Star is a singular superweapon whereas Borg cubes, however big and powerful they may be, are simple battleships and troop carriers capable of attacking en masse when necessary. A Borg cube versus an Imperial Star Destroyer would be a much more even match.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:08 AM on April 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


The question is who wins Borg Cube vs. Death Star? Other then physics, what method could we possibly use to answer, or even approach that question?

I vote for The Doctor.

Well, if we appeal to geometry rather than physics, the Dodecahedron might trump both sphere and cube....
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:09 AM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


My favorite professor in college, an astronomy guy, said you had to love the Borg for figuring outthat aerodynamics makes no difference in a vacuum.
posted by PuppyCat at 6:11 AM on April 4, 2012 [15 favorites]


The cube would get itself blasted to bits on purpose. That way the borg could transmit data on the superlaser back to the collective at the last microsecond. With this, a superlaser-shielded fleet will come by some years down the road to take a closer look at that fancy not-moon.

So the Death Star easily wins this battle because borg cubes are supposed to be disposable. But I'd give the borg much better chances in engagements after that first one.
posted by Cironian at 6:13 AM on April 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Are we allowed to vote for GSVs? Because I'm throwing the Sleeper Service into the ring.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:15 AM on April 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


While the Cube would be destroyed outright, the ongoing guerrilla combat in the bowels of the victorious Death Star would be a bit more even. Those few Borg that made it aboard the station would have to be hunted down and rooted out by Vader (standard Stormtroopers not being trusted to run down a corridor without banging their heads into something) faster than they could assimilate Empire personnel. Eventually, Vader would run out of tricks (Borg adapt to his capabilities) and would have to sacrifice himself to detonate the Death Star, thus ending the Borg but preserving the Empire.

Of course, things will get complicated when the Borg discover the cadre of Skrull infiltrators already in position, but I'm sure they will be dealt with right before the clutch of Tyranid spores are found on the nearby forest moon by a wayward Wicket.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:19 AM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


The problem as I see it lies in the teleportation of the Star Trek universe. I long maintain this is their most powerful weapon by far, and it is not clear to me how this is not abused much more than we see in the show. Alien snuck into your room in the dead of night with a phaser? Have the computer beam em into the prison since they're displaying threat. Klingon warriors on the bridge? Beam all the particles in their body 1 cm apart from each other and into space. Somebody has a gun to your head? Beam a hunk of lead into their head and hands. Beam out the engine of another ship. Beam a 500m hole in the center of their hull...

Anyways, I can't imagine that the Death Star would just open fire on the ship right away since it's not exactly all that powerful by Star Wars standards and it's just not a military procedure. There would definitely be long enough for the Borg to beam onto the Death Star, and at this point there is just no way that the Borg wouldn't completely take it over. R2 is able to hack into the Death Star's mainframe in literally seconds and he's nothing compared to the Borg collective. The odds that the shoddy Stormtroopers would even notice what was happening and even escalate to firing, the Borg would have everything, utterly everything. At this point they abuse their transporters to do, well, anything they like, and the Death Star will be ended.

Darth Vader and the Emperor suddenly find themselves quite dead in the gloom of space, and everywhere convinient is suddenly manned by the Borg soldiers, including the doom cannons battlestations and the bridge. One or two deaths to the Star Wars weapons are irrelevant since the Borg canon says they can adapt to this in seconds, and then they teleport another to where they were instantly. It would be a horrifyingly one sided butcher, like watching a spider fight ants.
posted by Algebra at 6:20 AM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Interestingly enough, I just noticed that when I googled for "death star" one of the images showed a scale comparison of the first and second. But when I clicked on it it just happened to have a borg cube on there as well. see for yourself how much larger the death star is then the cube.
posted by delmoi at 6:21 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bob the Angry Flower presided over the ultimate contest of sphere-versus-cube: Cubeputer Vs. Compusphere. Spoiler alert: The cube wins. Sorry, death star fans.
posted by pharaohmagnetic at 6:33 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


In a head-on conflict with the Death Star, immediately upon first encountering the Empire, the Borg are probably dead. However, if the Death Star's main cannon is the same technology as its minor beam weapons, just scaled up, then any early beam attacks will teach the Borg how to adapt to those frequencies, so the full-strength laser might potentially not even affect them. Nobody really knows the limits of Borg adaptability, so you could argue it either way.

So there's a good chance they'll lose a frontal assault. So, the smart move would be to run away. I think it's quite likely that a Borg cube could outrun a Star Wars ship, because Star Wars ships jump from known point to known point; they aren't noted for being especially fast in regular space. Borg warp tech, IIRC, is like Federation tech, where they have to actually travel through all the space in between two places, and they've developed warp drive to do that very quickly indeed. So I think it's quite likely that they could get out of range of the Death Star long before its main beam weapon charged, and could likely evade pursuing ships.

If the lesser ships around the Death Star were able to use their jump systems to keep up with the Borg's warp drive, that would still separate them from the main, one-shot-kill mothership, and with their adaptability, they should be able to defeat smaller ships, assimilate their technology, and then suddenly have weapons and shields that are every bit as powerful as anything the Empire can field. (just taking the numbers as stated by various "official sources", the weapon and shield systems in the Star Wars universe make Federation weapons look like popguns. One turbolaser battery on an SSD would rip the Enterprise in half in probably one salvo.) I doubt the Borg could take a Star Destroyer, but I bet they could take out something like the Millenium Falcon, and that's all they'd need to assimilate Star Wars tech. If all else fails, they could land on a planet and take the technology that way; personal combat weapons in Star Wars seem weaker, if anything, than Federation-style phasers.

Shortly thereafter, you'd have a Borg Cube that could stand toe-to-toe with any ship in the Star Wars universe other than the Death Star, and it strikes me that their forces would grow stronger with exponential speed. They'd probably swallow the entire Galactic Empire within a few years, and then could go after the Death Star at their leisure.

tl;dr version: Dumb Borg lose almost immediately. Smart Borg that run away and adapt can eat the entire Empire, not just the Death Star.

That is, of course, assuming that Jedi mind tricks don't work on their collective, machine-enhanced consciousness. If they do, well, we know from the Star Trek universe that all the Jedi has to do is convince the Borg to take a nap. Boom, dead Borg.
posted by Malor at 6:45 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hmm. Didn't see any discussion of phased particle weapons vs. directed-energy weapons, so my off-the-cuff analysis: Federation starships are equipped with phasers and photon torpedoes, and their shields are primarily designed around stopping same. A couple of times in TNG, they encounter technologically-inferior races who still use lasers as their primary weapons, and the reaction is always the same: Riker gives a smug little smirk, and Wesley points out that the Enterprise's navigational shields can stop laser fire. Firing lasers at primary deflector shields is like throwing rocks at an armored column. Directed-energy weapons just aren't effective against Star-Trek-universe deflector shields.

Now. To the question at hand: Wookieepedia is pretty clear on the mechanics of the Death Star's superweapon: it's a massively powerful laser fed by a number of tributary superlasers, total energy output somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.4×1032 watts. That obviously packs a hell of a lot more punch than your ordinary laser, but we've seen no evidence that Borg shield adaptation is vulnerable to massive power boosts in weapons they have adapted to--the Enterprise used its primary deflector array to fire a superpowered blast at a cube thinking it could achieve the same effect that the Death Star does (one extremely powerful shot before the Borg shields could adapt to the frequency), and it glanced off their shields like water off a duck.

So. Even with an enormous energy output, I don't see any in-universe reason to believe that the Death Star would succeed in destroying the Cube with its first shot. Borg shields are just too powerful, and lasers have no history of working against any shielding system used in the Star Trek universe. And, after that first shot, it's the Borg Cube by a landslide.

Possible mitigating factor: standard galaxy-class starship phaser output in TNG is on the order of 1017 watts. With the deflector array modifed to produce a super-powered blast, call it 1020. The Death Star superlaser puts out trillion times more power than that. Even at water-off-a-duck operating levels by the Borg shielding, you can still drown a duck by dumping a trillion gallons of water on it.

Fan-wank is more fun that I could have possibly imagined
posted by Mayor West at 6:48 AM on April 4, 2012 [13 favorites]


Of course, things will get complicated when the Borg discover the cadre of Skrull infiltrators already in position, but I'm sure they will be dealt with right before the clutch of Tyranid spores are found on the nearby forest moon by a wayward Wicket.

Eventually, of course, that one clever cultist will call Azathoth, and all the warring factions will be consumed by the Blind Idiot Chaos that Blasphemes and Bubbles Ceaselessly at the Center of all Universes, and we can finally put the ultimately pointless joke that is known as Life (and "who would win" fan battles) properly behind us.

If "behind" or "us" (or, for that matter, "put") had meaning at that point.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:49 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nothing says "Internet" like Star Trek vs. Star Wars arguments.
posted by tommasz at 6:51 AM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


This fpp is pure win. Just for everybody's future reference here is a handy series of charts demonstrating the size differences between the ships and stations of various science fiction franchises. Handy little reference for all your what if? theorycrafting needs.

note: the death star is too big to include on these charts.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:51 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


(just taking the numbers as stated by various "official sources", the weapon and shield systems in the Star Wars universe make Federation weapons look like popguns)

Uh, based on what? Are there, like, numbers involved? How do you compare a phaser to a laser cannon? Or a light saber, for that matter?
posted by delmoi at 6:53 AM on April 4, 2012


Q vs. Darth Vader. Discuss.
posted by rocketman at 7:00 AM on April 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Eventually, of course, that one clever cultist will call Azathoth, and all the warring factions will be consumed by the Blind Idiot Chaos that Blasphemes and Bubbles Ceaselessly at the Center of all Universes, and we can finally put the ultimately pointless joke that is known as Life (and "who would win" fan battles) properly behind us.

But can Azathoth tear itself away from the piping of Klaa, who has been trapped at the center of the universe since giving up hassling Spock's half-brother with illusions of godhood?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:00 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


A million gold-pressed latinum for an edit window!!

You and me both brother.

posted by George Lucas at 7:02 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


But can Azathoth tear itself away from the piping of Klaa, who has been trapped at the center of the universe since giving up hassling Spock's half-brother with illusions of godhood?

Even a Blind Idiot Chaos needs a Klaa-free break every few vigintillions of aeons.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:08 AM on April 4, 2012


I vote for The Doctor.

And isn't the TARDIS nearly infinite on the inside? So, bigger than any of the ships on those charts, including Death Star Mark 2. Win!
posted by orrnyereg at 7:10 AM on April 4, 2012


Meh, Adama would find a way to defeat them both, using Starbuck and Apollo. Afterwards, Adama would weep softly about something, while Starbuck screwed someone and Apollo stared from a dark corner, longingly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Borg capability of absorbing the energy of the superlaser I feel is pretty moot. The only reason the Empire was able to use it against the Rebellion's ships was because 1. The Rebellion had no idea it was a fully armed and operational battlestation (couldn't resist) and 2. They had an entire fleet to trap the Rebellion and engage them in the field of fire of the laser. The Empire would only have one chance to fire the laser before the Borg were out of range of it
posted by Phantomx at 7:12 AM on April 4, 2012


Meh, Adama would find a way to defeat them both

Getting past Adama is easy. All you have to do is fuck up the Galatica's bulkheads with organic jam from Sainsburys and he'll be so busy mournfully looking up-and-to-the-left at them that you can take the rest of the ship at your leisure.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:12 AM on April 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


> the ongoing guerrilla combat in the bowels of the victorious Death Star would be a bit more even

From the link: Stormtroopers try to repulse them, and 2 Borg are killed before they adapt and become quite invulnerable.

It has always bothered me that the standard response to the Borg adapting to phaser (or laser, in this case) fire is "oh shit, we're screwed now!" The Borg are still made of matter, right? HIT THEM WITH SOME HARD! I'll never understand why the Federation's first response to any Borg encounter is "Computer, replicate a bunch of muskets and pikes!"

If anything, RiB is underestimating how easily a bunch of Borg on the Death Star would go down. With a base the size of a not-moon, human wave attacks of massed stormtroopers equipped with butter knives would be able to swamp any that beamed over.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:13 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


is = isn't
posted by Panjandrum at 7:14 AM on April 4, 2012


HIT THEM WITH SOME HARD!

Ron Jeremy where are you?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 AM on April 4, 2012


Q vs. Darth Vader. Discuss.

Already happened. The prequels show us the humiliatingly awful history Q replaced his life with.
posted by emmtee at 7:18 AM on April 4, 2012 [16 favorites]


Heh. I think you are underestimating the martial prowess of your average Stormtrooper. A mass attack armed with butter knives would be a debacle of Elliot Smithian proportions, and that's even before the forlorn hope made it to the several-times-stronger-than-normal-human Borg.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:19 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


delmoi: Uh, based on what? Are there, like, numbers involved? How do you compare a phaser to a laser cannon? Or a light saber, for that matter?

Yeah, just raw energy output. The amount of power in Star Wars turbolasers and shields is something like six orders of magnitude greater than the Federation equivalents. I don't remember the exact numbers anymore, and it's been several years since I saw the comparison, but the sources were as official as you could get ... technical manuals for Star Trek, and something more-or-less equivalent for Star Wars, although I don't remember what. Sorry I don't have a link, it's been too long. But it really stuck with me, because I'd always thought that Federation tech was better than Star Wars tech.

The energy differences are so gigantic that shots from a Super Star Destroyer should simply pass directly through a Federation starship without even stopping, blowing gigantic holes with each and every bolt. Federation-class shields would be about as effect as construction paper.
posted by Malor at 7:20 AM on April 4, 2012


Sigh, *effective
posted by Malor at 7:20 AM on April 4, 2012


Even a Blind Idiot Chaos needs a Klaa-free break every few vigintillions of aeons.

AZATHOTH TIRED OF DAVE MATHEWS COVERS, KLAA!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:22 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always thought the power levels of Star War tech were set by someone really drunk who couldn't see how many zeroes he'd already written after each number.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:23 AM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ah, Mayor West's comment has some numbers. To put 2.4×1032 watts into perspective, the entire earth's energy use today to is equal to about 1.5*1013 watts, and the 2004 Indian earthquake put out 3.9*1022 J of energy over 8 minutes or so, so I think about 8.3*1019 Watts.
If anything, RiB is underestimating how easily a bunch of Borg on the Death Star would go down. With a base the size of a not-moon, human wave attacks of massed stormtroopers equipped with butter knives would be able to swamp any that beamed over.
Part of his system implied that the bog would hack it. That's a whole other issue: R2-D2 was only able to get information out of the system, and shut down a trash compactor. (If he can stop a trash compactor, why not why not just disable the laser at that point, or install a virus that would prevent it from working in the future? Oh well)

But ignoring that for now, the population of the first death star was officially supposed to be 31 million people. This guy postulates it had way more. But with that many people the storm troopers would probably be able to reproduce faster then the Borg could kill them, or at least they could, if they had any women.

If the Borg without their cube can start to 'assimilate' the storm troopers then it would be like a zombie outbreak where instead of zombies you have borg and they're infecting storm troopers on a death star.

Which would probably a pretty entertaining movie.
posted by delmoi at 7:23 AM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Meh, Adama would find a way to defeat them both

If we continue down this path, eventually NERV from Neon Genesis Evangellion will get involved, and then... well, something will happen, but it won't be clear exactly what, except that it reuses some footage from earlier episodes... and people will argue about this for a few years, then some movies will be released to explain things... and there will be more arguments. Eventually, confusion will reign supreme!
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:25 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Q: I sentence you... to have once been the most irritating child in the universe, to have nothing in your past really make sense, to have been friends with Jar Jar Binks, and to have said the most awful possible thing in every single situation throughout your life!

Vader: NOOOOOOOOOOOO

Q: That's the spirit!
posted by emmtee at 7:26 AM on April 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


Eventually, confusion will reign supreme!

Mephisto!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:29 AM on April 4, 2012


If the Borg without their cube can start to 'assimilate' the storm troopers then it would be like a zombie outbreak where instead of zombies you have borg and they're infecting storm troopers on a death star.

That's a sizable chunk of First Contact!

Anyway, this whole thing feels like revolver versus leprosy, in which case I vote leprosy, so I'm casting my lot with the Borg.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:30 AM on April 4, 2012


Okay now how about a Borg cube vs Harbinger.

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE

BLLLLAAAAAARRRRRRRPPPPPP

But seriously it'd be a draw because Harbinger would inexplicably just leave after firing one shot.
posted by emmtee at 7:31 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


My favorite professor in college, an astronomy guy, said you had to love the Borg for figuring outthat aerodynamics makes no difference in a vacuum.
Hardly. They have a 9km2 cross-section according to a quick search, and at warp 1 are hitting (by my back of the envelope estimate) about 5kg of extremely high velocity matter a second. At more typical borg speeds it'd be tonnes of matter per second hitting their shields at absurd speeds (however warp physics is supposed to work there). They might not care that much (presumably the navigational deflectors aren't an enormous energy drain) but things could be more efficient with a lower cross-section.
posted by edd at 7:32 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Death Star vs Mogo
Winner fights Galactus!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:33 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually I am way off, I picked out the wrong number for the ISM density (I thought it was high!) but they still might want to take note of it for times that the Federation hide a ship in a nebula.
posted by edd at 7:34 AM on April 4, 2012


I always thought the power levels of Star War tech were set by someone really drunk who couldn't see how many zeroes he'd already written after each number.

Actually, I was just trying to look up how much energy the sun puts out. It's 1026 watts, by the way.

But actually it looks like they might have chosen the number for the death star's laser pretty precisely. But actually on the same chart they list the Gravitational binding energy of the earth as being 232 joules of energy.

That means the death star puts out enough energy to, er, unbind the earth in a bit less then half a second. Which is exactly the kind of thing it's supposed to be able to do. It's also equivalent to about how much energy the sun puts out over 20 days, in one second.

Also it's apparently thought that a type 1c supernova would put out 1044 J of energy in, I think, 2 seconds. as a hyper giant star collapses into a black hole in it's final moments. The thing is, this energy is actually directed in a beam, along the black hole's rotational axis. This so much energy that they can be seen (in the gamma ray band) most of the way across the visible universe (10 billion light years, out of 13.2)
posted by delmoi at 7:38 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mephisto!

Wait, you mean the Klaus Maria Brandauer film about the actor in Germany who compromises his ethics in the face of the rise of Nazism? That seems a stretch even for this thread.

Although Brandauer did play a Bond villain.....
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:47 AM on April 4, 2012


I just came in here briefly to add the following:

NEEEEERRRRDS!!!!1!

OK, that's done, carry on then.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:47 AM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Even at water-off-a-duck operating levels by the Borg shielding, you can still drown a duck by dumping a trillion gallons of water on it.

Ever see an industrial pressure-washer? Enough force (har) behind some water can cut a duck in half.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:48 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


That means the death star puts out enough energy to, er, unbind the earth in a bit less then half a second. Which is exactly the kind of thing it's supposed to be able to do. It's also equivalent to about how much energy the sun puts out over 20 days, in one second.

And all that powered by some fucked-up reactor system with open-topped shafts that extend into the VIP quarters.
posted by COBRA! at 7:48 AM on April 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's harder than delmoi makes out at the end there. He's given a lookback time, which isn't the same as a luminosity distance. The latter grows much faster and a burst at a redshift of say 2 (which has a lookback time of 10 billion years) is actually at a luminosity distance about 5 times greater. It gets progressively worse the more distant the object.
posted by edd at 7:49 AM on April 4, 2012


Even at water-off-a-duck operating levels by the Borg shielding, you can still drown a duck by dumping a trillion gallons of water on it.

Ever see an industrial pressure-washer? Enough force (har) behind some water can cut a duck in half.


You guys bring up a really good point; let's talk Borg with a firehose versus duck with a laser.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:55 AM on April 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


delmoi, another way of looking at it, purely from an intuitive standpoint: the original Death Star was able to generate enough power to vaporize something much, much larger than it was, probably a hundred times bigger, in one shot, after charging up for ten minutes or so. If we assume linear scaling, then a turbolaser battery, at about the size of a bus, should be able to put out enough power to vaporize something the size of a hundred buses over a time period of ten minutes. If we assume two bolts per second (the big batteries don't seem to fire very fast), then that's 1200 bolts that can, collectively, evaporate 100 buses. So each bolt should instantly vaporize 1/120th of a bus, or several cubic meters of hard stone. If turbolasers are actually larger than buses, then their damage output increases, obviously.

Compare that with Federation weapons, which don't penetrate that far into the hull, and don't do that much damage. A ship can take a lot of direct Federation weapons fire, usually, before becoming disabled. If we take energy levels at face value, a single bolt from an SSD turbolaser, in the right spot, might be enough to completely cripple a Federation vessel. And they throw a LOT of bolts. (with, admittedly, terrible aim, but hey! accuracy through volume.)

That said, we don't see any signs of damage that horrific from the blaster bolts that do hit ship hulls in Star Wars, so either those hulls are made of some special material (like the lightsaber-resistant cortosis that was used in KOTOR), the Star Trek writers were way overestimating how strong their weapons were, or the Star Wars writers didn't grasp the implications of all those zeroes. :)

Man, this must be the silliest semi-serious conversation I've ever had on MeFi.
posted by Malor at 7:58 AM on April 4, 2012


It's harder than delmoi makes out at the end there. He's given a lookback time, which isn't the same as a luminosity distance. The latter grows much faster and a burst at a redshift of say 2 (which has a lookback time of 10 billion years) is actually at a luminosity distance about 5 times greater. It gets progressively worse the more distant the object.
Interesting. Obviously when you're talking about distances that take nearly the time since the big bang to traverse when traveling at the speed of light, things get complicated.
posted by delmoi at 8:07 AM on April 4, 2012


Borg Cube with Jean-Luc Picard.
posted by jonsy at 8:14 AM on April 4, 2012


I AM WATTOCUS, OF BORG

THE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE OF THE TOYDARIAN, WATTO, IS PART OF US NOW

YOU WILL BE FORCED TO COMPETE IN POD RACES FOR INADEQUATELY EXPLAINED REASONS

WE WILL ENSLAVE ALL YOUR MOTHERS
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:21 AM on April 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


For purposes of this discussions, imagine an ideal spherical Borg cube in a vacuum...
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:29 AM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Star Wars universe is one where the Falcon completed the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs - I don't think you can take any of published made up numbers seriously.
posted by device55 at 8:33 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


the Falcon completed the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs

Less than 12 parsecs.
posted by rocketman at 8:37 AM on April 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Serious enough for you, old man.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:48 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just sayin' discussing the wattage output of "turbo" lasers is tantamount to describing how the force works because of midichlorians.

Star Wars is a tale of knights, dragons, sorcerers, princesses, and magical elves. It's just that the villages are planets and the castles are space stations. It's about grand simple themes, fantasy, and symbolism.

Star Trek is a completely incompatible universe what with its science advisors and theoretically plausible technology.

If one universe were to leak into the other they would bubble up like vinegar and baking soda, leaving nothing behind but a sludge of fan-fiction and internet arguments.
posted by device55 at 9:01 AM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


But looking at the size, there's just no comparison. The borg cube is supposedly 3km per side, while the first death star was 180km in diameter, and the second was 900 km in diameter. Which seems odd, if the first one could blow up planets, why make the second one so much larger?

RonButNotStupid, the Death Star I blew up A planet.

It was Fat Man + Little Boy; intended to scare the fuck out of the planets in revolt, and put them back in line.

There's no doubt in my mind that it was severely limited; Alderaan might even have been chosen because it was small and unstable enough to make a well-assured victory by what was, effectively, an untested weapon. (In that sense, Alderaan was more Trinity Point than Nagasaki.)

So, in order to be a continually operational, reusable weapon, that doesn't have Glaring Defensive Faults, the Death Star project encountered "creep". A mere 1000-fold increase in volume was the least of the budgetary overruns, frankly...
posted by IAmBroom at 9:06 AM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Are we allowed to vote for GSVs? Because I'm throwing the Sleeper Service into the ring."

Heh. Or Lasting Damage, which blew up a star, right? Even the Death Star is puny compared to the Culture's GSVs. And they're not even the Culture's scariest ships, anyway.

I think the most convincing argument I saw on that page against the Death Star was that it's super-weapon fires in a fixed direction relative to the ship. So a Borg cube would just have to serendipitously approach from a safe direction to make it irrelevant. At the size of the Death Star, I can't see how it could be maneuverable enough to target a cube with its super-weapon, anyway.

A Borg cube has a population of a few thousands, IIRC. That's very small compared to 33 million. But I think the Borg can transport very large numbers of drones at once. They could possibly transport almost the entire population of drones onto the Death Star, and either widely disperse them (for quicker assimilation) or strategically concentrate them (if they are vulnerable to some form of attack). Either way, an assimilation takes only a few minutes (based upon my watching of Voyager just recently) and the Borg could assimilate the population of the Death Star very quickly. Note that it's doubtful that the entire population of 33 million are Stormtroopers or other combatants. But once assimilated, every humanoid is weaponized and the equal of a Stormtrooper. Rate of assimilation would be exponential and that 33 million advantage wouldn't mean much.

It's possible that a Sith Lord could influence or control all the Borg drones at once via propagating mind control, but that seems unlikely. Surely the collective will, even if it's "one mind", is just as difficult to control as would be simultaneously all the individual minds that constitute it, and no Sith Lord has been shown to be that powerful. I would think the presence of a queen would be a weakness for the Borg, though, as a Sith Lord could possibly exert quite an influence on the Borg via her.

Finally, the Borg are built around a nanotechnology and biotechnology that, AFAICR, are far more advanced than anything the Empire is known to possess. Not to mention their scanning technology and their manipulation of subspace. I would think that the Borg could quickly subvert and control the Death Star technology entirely.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:11 AM on April 4, 2012


Of course, with just a white board and some poorly-defined medical tests, Gregory House and his team could solve this in less than an hour. Probably by trying a medical procedure that would either cure every Borg or send the Empire collectively into respiratory arrest.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:28 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


the Falcon completed the Kessel Run in [less than] 12 parsecs - I don't think you can take any of published made up numbers seriously.

The EU retcon addresses this:

"Solo was not referring directly to his ship's speed when he made this claim. Instead, he was referring to the shorter route he was able to travel by skirting the nearby Maw black hole cluster, thus making the run in under the standard distance."
posted by mediated self at 9:43 AM on April 4, 2012


Borg Vs. Ditka - discuss
posted by Bonzai at 9:45 AM on April 4, 2012


I just came in here briefly to add the following:



I, too, felt a great disturbance in the Internet, as if millions of nerds fapped in cross-eyed carnality and fell suddenly silent. I fear something terrible has happened.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:45 AM on April 4, 2012


Thanks for linking to this. I've been missing the old Grudge Match site. This looks like an acceptable substitute.
posted by tdismukes at 9:46 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The EU retcon addresses this:

Retcons have a high concentration of midichlorians.
posted by device55 at 9:52 AM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love that this is still a discussion, 15-20 years after I saw virtually the identical thread with the same arguements on alt.whatever.some.starwars.group.
posted by HighLife at 9:52 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Finally, the Borg are built around a nanotechnology and biotechnology that, AFAICR, are far more advanced than anything the Empire is known to possess.

So no use if they get dumped into the Slow Zone by Countermeasure, then.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:59 AM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ditka.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:01 AM on April 4, 2012


What are the chances we'll see a movie along these lines? If they could do Alien vs. Predator...
posted by joecacti at 10:01 AM on April 4, 2012


Borg Vs. Ditka - discuss

My first thought was Ditka, obviously, but then my desire to see Ditkutus of Borg won out.
posted by Copronymus at 10:11 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ditkutus of Borg

Ditka's charisma is so strong that his personality becomes the collective, and the Borg Bears proceed to win every Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup and World Cup until the heat death of the universe.
posted by thecaddy at 10:33 AM on April 4, 2012


Borg vs Death Star isn't even an interesting question. Scales are different by four or five orders of magnitude. We're wondering if a single vicious wasp could take down an elephant. All Grand Moff Tarkin has to do is step on the hyperdrive and the Borg are splots on the windshield.

The Death Star vs the Lexx, that's the one I wonder about.
posted by bonehead at 10:46 AM on April 4, 2012


Can the Death Star even hit a moving target? It had to line up for hours just to take a shot at a planet it was in orbit around. It has all of those TIE fighters and stuff because it can't hit anything smaller than a planet. And I don't see anyone saying that a squadron of TIE fighters can take out a Borg Cube.
posted by Garm at 11:04 AM on April 4, 2012


I'm siding with the Borg on this one--all about the nanotechnology and cyber warfare and transporter technology. The Death Star would be over-run with computer viruses (even R2D2 can hack in). They don't do their planet-destroying on a hair-trigger, which they'd need to vanquish the Borg. As for the Star Wars mysticism: Star Trek has Spock's mind-melding, has empaths. If one accepts Prequels as canon, The Force has a physical substrate in midichlorians. I doubt that would be particularly new to the Borg.
posted by Schmucko at 11:08 AM on April 4, 2012


Yeah, sorry, but it wouldn't even be a close fight... for the Borg. It's pretty easy to get out of the field of fire of the Death Star's laser cannon; after the first few TIE fighters shoot at it, they'll have the Empire's basic weapons technology sussed out; they'd be able to find the Death Star's weak spot without the plans thanks to their superior analytic ability; and each assimilation adds not only to the Borg's sheer numbers but also to their store of knowledge about the enemy. The fight ends with the Emperor and Vader being overwhelmed by a wave of thousands of assimilated stormtroopers, far too many to take out with force-choking and Sith lightning and already resistant to light sabers, while somewhere the Borg Queen chuckles softly as she examines a map of Coruscant...
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:41 AM on April 4, 2012


Speaking of scale, I'd put my money of the Vorlons from Babylon 5.

They built a ship with a planet destroying laser that was 45km across. That's it. You could fit a couple of thousand of those in the space of the Death Star.

Easier to take down, perhaps. But presumably, they are much much cheaper to manufacture.

Give me 10 of those, and the relevant support ships and I'll take down your super weapons (Borg or Empire) with ease.

Bonus points for beings of pure energy being immune to the Borg. And can the Borg interface with organic computers/ships?

Of course, the Culture is still at the top of the list. You need a sublimed race to take them on and they stopped caring when they left their material concerns behind.
posted by Hactar at 11:55 AM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Borg ships do not use typical warp technology most of the time! They create/use and travel within transwarp conduits which allow them to exceed typical warp speeds (warp 10+), so power level requirements for deflector / navigational shields do not matter to them.

Also, we are assuming the typical borg cube as seen in canonical tv and movies. The Queen's cube in First Contact was somewhat larger than a typical cube I believe... seems reasonable to me that the cubes we are used to are basically the equivalent of the Federation's enterprise, a mobile "city" used for exploration and in the borg's case, introductions. I wouldn't be surprised to learn they have much larger "war" vessels, whether that is a much larger cube or something else we haven't seen yet.

Back to the original question... I really think this would come down the borg infiltrating the death star nearly instantly via teleportation and then a very quick battle against an enemy entirely unprepared to deal with an enemy teleporting at will within their ship. The initial "zombie borg" outbreak would spread throughout the ship like cancer gone wild, with no logical progression to it (to an enemy unfamiliar with these kind of capabilities).
posted by utsutsu at 12:13 PM on April 4, 2012


Hactar: "Speaking of scale, I'd put my money of the Vorlons from Babylon 5.

They built a ship with a planet destroying laser that was 45km across. That's it. You could fit a couple of thousand of those in the space of the Death Star.
"

Species 8472 managed it by borrowing the Vorlon's laser networking half a dozen barely-bigger-than-Voyager ships, although it took a good thirty seconds for the planet to come apart. A few of them could deal with the Death Star pretty handily. And, as their skill at remote Kes disturbance shows, they're telepathic enough that Force mind-control stuff probably won't work on them.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:07 PM on April 4, 2012


Even if you give the Death Star a one-hit kill on the first borg ship with zero drones beamed onto the Death Star before destruction (because e.g., Imperial shielding technology does happen to impede Borg transports), the Borg are not going to be hit by the Death Star's main (planet-destroying) weapon again. A second Cube will clearly last long enough to get drones on board the Death Star, whether by direct beaming or by the use of smaller craft (and in star trek canon, there are smaller borg ships which could be deployed for this purpose).

Once aboard, if no Jedi or Sith are present, I think it's fairly clear that borg assimilation would proceed without any real impediment short of triggering a self-destruct sequence; early Borg control of shipboard computers would probably prevent this. (though in a pinch, Vader could climb in his Tie Fighter and shoot down the exhaust port, I suppose)

OK, let's put Vader and the Emperor on the death star too. Let them kill individual drones by force crush, and even say that the borg cannot adapt to force lightning and light sabers. Unless all of the borg boarding parties happen to arrive in the neighborhood of these two bad-asses and get themselves killed right away, our poor Sith face traversing kilometers of Death Star corridors before they arrive at the point of invasion. This'll take time, even if the Borg haven't locked down in-ship movement through the computers. When Vader finally arrives in the lower decks, there are potentially hundreds of newly-converted storm troopers and robots. Sure, he's more than a match for any one of them individually—but there are too many to snuff out with the power of the force all at once. A sacrificial group of Borg can keep Vader pinned down while most continue converting crew. The rate of borg conversions looks like an exponential function at this point. There's got to be some number of Borg who can take on Vader in ranged combat and win, and it's probably well less than the above-quoted 31 million individuals (think of the arena battle in Episode II)

That leaves Sith mind tricks. If they're played on the individual Borg, possibly effective if you take a Borg to have enough of an individual mind left to affect. To affect the whole Borg collective, or even just all the drones present? I think it's doubtful that the power of a Sith is this great, and the overall Borg mind is not going to be the sort of weak mind that can be tricked in this fashion (and the borg are also relying greatly on machinery for their perception, which is going to be less subject to force trickery than the eyes and ears). This assumes that the Star Wars extended universe hasn't established that a Sith Lord could command everything in a volume the size of the Death Star to just die (though in this case I'd expect Palpatine to have done it before his own death in Episode VI)

So, basically, The Borg Win—at least, if they're allowed two Cubes instead of just the one (and that's only because of the "gimme" for the Death Star in the first round)
posted by jepler at 2:11 PM on April 4, 2012


What happens when the Borg assimilate the midichlorians?
posted by humanfont at 3:45 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Heh, check it out a baby borg
---
I'm just sayin' discussing the wattage output of "turbo" lasers is tantamount to describing how the force works because of midichlorians.

Star Wars is a tale of knights, dragons, sorcerers, princesses, and magical elves. It's just that the villages are planets and the castles are space stations. It's about grand simple themes, fantasy, and symbolism.
Yeah, but it can't just be a coincidence that it's almost exactly the wattage you would need to blow up the earth in half a second or so. They must have looked that up. (I mean, I guess it could be a coincidence, but seems unlikely)
Heh. Or Lasting Damage, which blew up a star, right? Even the Death Star is puny compared to the Culture's GSVs. And they're not even the Culture's scariest ships, anyway.
I don't know how much energy GSVs contain, but keep in mind the second death star is almost twice the diameter of the length of the GSV.
Finally, the Borg are built around a nanotechnology and biotechnology that, AFAICR, are far more advanced than anything the Empire is known to possess. Not to mention their scanning technology and their manipulation of subspace. I would think that the Borg could quickly subvert and control the Death Star technology entirely.
The deathstar, and other computer tech in Star Wars seems to be based around 1970s level computer tech. I mean, R2-D2 can make decisions but they couldn't find a voice chip for him?

I wonder if droid tech in Star Wars is based on some sort of mystical force based concept where they are able to endow 'dumb' tech with a kind of sentience/life force, applied to what we would consider 'dumb' tech.

I wonder if perhaps their focus on the mystical has retarded their understanding of technology. They don't seem to have a grasp on quantum mechanics.
What are the chances we'll see a movie along these lines? If they could do Alien vs. Predator...
I'm sure when George Lucas dies people are going to be all over exploiting his works, like Dr. Suisse's, right now he wants pretty tight control over everything. Difference, though, is that in this case there's a good chance it might be an improvement.
Can the Death Star even hit a moving target? It had to line up for hours just to take a shot at a planet it was in orbit around. It has all of those TIE fighters and stuff because it can't hit anything smaller than a planet. And I don't see anyone saying that a squadron of TIE fighters can take out a Borg Cube.
It was going for a moon orbiting a larger planet. They were in orbit of the larger planet and had to wait for it to come over the horizon. The second (larger) death star blased a rebel ship in RotJ.
posted by delmoi at 4:05 PM on April 4, 2012


> Discussing who could beat who since 1997

Holy crap...I thought that site was this site (and I'm amazed it's still on the internet, albeit defunct).
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:15 PM on April 4, 2012


thought that site was this site

Heh: Redshirts vs. storm toopers
posted by delmoi at 4:35 PM on April 4, 2012


One thing that was touched on by "Daki" in the link and delmoi above is that Vader has mind control powers that could totally fuck with the collective mind. What I don't think has been mentioned is that additionally Vader as a boy was kind of a wunderkind who could build droids with complex, lifelike AI and thus might have some technical solutions to the borg problem. If we're included Vader I think the Borg is kinda fucked.

The ions would be stopped by the hull of a ship


I could be wrong, but the borg cube doesn't have much of a hull...it's pretty much open, isn't it?
posted by Hoopo at 5:40 PM on April 4, 2012


Yeah, but it can't just be a coincidence that it's almost exactly the wattage you would need to blow up the earth in half a second or so. They must have looked that up. (I mean, I guess it could be a coincidence, but seems unlikely)

Of course it's not a coincidence. Of course they looked it up - after the fact. Just like the explanation for the "fast" Kessel Run. It's a ret-con for people who mis-understand the source material.

Like George Lucas.
posted by device55 at 6:10 PM on April 4, 2012


it's a ret-con

Whatever, ret-con an magical angry black puddle of loneliness, Trekkie. BOOYA!
posted by Hoopo at 7:07 PM on April 4, 2012


Will the Vogons ever get any respect? Their poetry is not respected. What of their technology?

If I remember correctly they have bypass ships that can destroy planets. If the Death Star were impeding the roundabout at Nebulon 5 I don't believe it would be for long.

And think of the gripping drama of a Borg cube versus the Ark from Starlost. Making Devon into a Borg would be a considerable challenge for the makeup and wardrobe staff.
posted by juiceCake at 8:14 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Less than 12 parsecs.

Fewer than 12 parsecs.

Wait...I think I've overdone it.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:36 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Whatever, ret-con an magical angry black puddle of loneliness, Trekkie. BOOYA!

Ret-con what? That episode sucks. A lot of Star Trek sucks.

The technical details of each universe, be they turbo laser output or borg shield frequencies, are irrelevant. Ultimately each fictional universe plays by a set of rules set in place by their core themes.

Star Wars is about destiny and the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

Star Trek is about the human condition, what it means to be a human - aka plucky hoo-mans.

Star Wars plays out on a grandiose, but simplified, galactic stage. Star Trek plays out on a smaller, somewhat realistic, relatable, human-ish scale stage.

So. If you posit a conflict between evil (the Empire) and anti-human (the Borg) - which set of rules do yo apply?

If you follow Star Trek law - the Empire is more human (I feel there is still good inside you father) and that humanity, through pluck or ingenuity, saves the day and the Borg are defeated.

If you follow Star Wars law - tough call. Are the Borg evil? Or just techno-zombies? The Empire obviously represents evil - but are they more or less evil than the Borg? Star Wars doesn't deal in many grey areas, "certain points of view" not withstanding. I would argue that in the rules of the Star Wars universe, the Empire ultimately prevails against the Borg because Darth Vader believes he is doing the right thing through whatever means necessary - bringing order to the galaxy - and the Borg is a threat to that.

The wattage output of the techno gizmo doesn't matter. In these fictional universes Kirk charms his way out of certain death with only his wits and a torn shirt and a farm-boy destroys a planet-killing battle station simply because he believes in something bigger than himself.
posted by device55 at 9:21 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Making Devon into a Borg would be a considerable challenge for the makeup and wardrobe staff.

I see what you did there.

Mu Lambda 165 does not approve.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:25 PM on April 4, 2012


delmoi, while I would say this is Somebody Else's Problem, I feel I must Appeal to Reason. First, keep in mind Size Isn't Everything. Second, the Limiting Factor of the Empire's technology can be seen in it's concerned with planets, rather than simply constructing Orbitals. They seem to have reached the Ends of Invention with very little technical improvement from the designs of thousands of years ago. Culture ships can cause truly Lasting Damage, in that they are able to cause an Irregular Apocalypse by not simply destroying a planet (which any dinky GCU can do), but actually destroying stars. Luckily, these ships come equipped with a Prosthetic Conscience in the form of a Mind, an AI that thinks millions of times faster than we ever could. I believe your reaction was an Honest Mistake, in following the Conventional Wisdom that a bigger gun means a greater Abundance Of Onslaught.

Of course, all of these series are only Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill, so I will not blame you if you are Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement and think I have Zero Credibility.

I hope this Frank Exchange of Views does not leave you thinking I am more than Only Slightly Bent.

With all that said, I think it it time for me to say:

Dramatic Exit, Or, Thank you And Goodnight

Ok, I cheated, I used one Zetetic Elench name and one GFCF name. Despite that, this was really fun to write.
posted by Hactar at 10:31 PM on April 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


Hactar, I regret that I have only one "favorite" to give.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:07 PM on April 4, 2012


Oh, how I want a new Culture novel.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:56 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


So. If you posit a conflict between evil (the Empire) and anti-human (the Borg) - which set of rules do yo apply?

The original premise seems to imply that the Death Star was just chillin' when the Borg suddenly materialized/warped in/whatever it is the Borg does to get around.

So by that rationale, I'd say that we're in the Star Wars universe, so their rules apply.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:10 AM on April 5, 2012


Oh, how I want a new Culture novel.

IIRC he recently sent one to Orbit.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:07 AM on April 5, 2012


If you follow Star Wars law - tough call. Are the Borg evil? Or just techno-zombies? The Empire obviously represents evil - but are they more or less evil than the Borg? Star Wars doesn't deal in many grey areas, "certain points of view" not withstanding. I would argue that in the rules of the Star Wars universe, the Empire ultimately prevails against the Borg because Darth Vader believes he is doing the right thing through whatever means necessary - bringing order to the galaxy - and the Borg is a threat to that.
Interesting point.

There are really two separate questions being discussed. Borg cube vs. death star, regardless of who's in charge, and on the other hand – The borg hive mind vs. dearth Vader and the emperor.

No matter how you cut it, the death star was way more powerful then the rebel fleet, but the rebels won because that's the story. So really if you look at Vader vs. the Borg Hivemind, it really doesn't even matter which one is more powerful (but I submit it's the deathstar by far) Whichever side wins is going to be determined by figuring out some trick or tactic that works.

That's also an easier way to analyze it, because you know both 'characters'. Also, lets face it, the Borg just aren't that smart. They routinely get their asses kicked by characters who have way less power then them, way less. The Empire is more "human", in fact if you look at 'wookiepedia' they are actually human chauvinists. Unlike the Jedi, they only allow humans to join the ranks (although there are a handful of non-humans).

But lets suppose the Jedi make a pact with the borg to defeat the Sith. In that case, the borg would be the good guys 'luck' would be on their side, and they would win.

On the other hand, if you take out the characters. Lets say that, I don't know the "trade federation" buys a death star, and the ferengi get their hands on a borg cube and figure out a way to mind-control the borg drones. If you look at it just tech vs. tech without thinking about sith/borg/whatever, I think the borg cube is fucked.
posted by delmoi at 5:59 PM on April 5, 2012


delmoi, while I would say this is Somebody Else's Problem, I feel I must Appeal to Reason. First, keep in mind Size Isn't Everything. Second, the Limiting Factor of the Empire's technology can be seen in it's concerned with planets, rather than simply constructing Orbitals. They seem to have reached the Ends of Invention with very little technical improvement from the designs of thousands of years ago. Culture ships can cause truly Lasting Damage, in that they are able to cause an Irregular Apocalypse by not simply destroying a planet (which any dinky GCU can do), but actually destroying stars. Luckily, these ships come equipped with a Prosthetic Conscience in the form of a Mind, an AI that thinks millions of times faster than we ever could. I believe your reaction was an Honest Mistake, in following the Conventional Wisdom that a bigger gun means a greater Abundance Of Onslaught.
Haven't read those books, so I have no idea :P
posted by delmoi at 6:02 PM on April 5, 2012


As a secondary question, isn't it inevitable that the Borg will defeat the federation. Momentary heroic victories by Janeway, Piccard, are futile as a long term strategy. The Borg have a huge chunk of the Galaxy and a near limitless supply of cubes. Their rapid rate of adaptation and rapid ability to adapt as a species is much greater than the Federation. This the Borg must ultimately win.
posted by humanfont at 6:49 PM on April 5, 2012


Borg tend to be stupid, though. All you have to do to defeat their 'adaptation' is rejigger the frequencies of the positron reconfobulator and you're good to go. Maybe there are some inefficiencies in having a hive-mind when subspace communication takes a long time. Humans might be able to innovate more quickly on the fly, and by the time knowledge might spread throughout Borg space of the humans, human tech might advance further.

It's also possible that humans are just the smartest, most clever species in the galaxy.
posted by delmoi at 1:42 AM on April 6, 2012


"It's also possible that humans are just the smartest, most clever species in the galaxy."

And also the most specialist, awesome, and cuddly. This is one thing I really dislike like about SF conventions; and it's especially bad in film and television.

There needs to be more novels like William Barton's Acts of Conscience, which cast a critical and even quite cynical eye on humanity. I get very tired of all this anthropocentric self-celebration.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:42 AM on April 6, 2012


I'm sure when George Lucas dies people are going to be all over exploiting his works, like Dr. Suisse's, right now he wants pretty tight control over everything.

delmoi, only one person is exploiting Dr. Seuss' works, his widow and copyright-holder.

May she rot.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:22 AM on April 9, 2012


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