Transporter bomb

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A transporter bomb is a combat tactic commonly proposed by inexperienced Trekkies involved in versus debates. The attack may have been first introduced as part of the Star Trek board game, Star Fleet Battles. In that game system, a mine called a "transporter mine" is beamed into the path of an enemy ship in order to do damage. The Trekkie version generally involves transporting a weapon directly into an enemy vessel.

Principle

The proposed attack involves moving a starship into transporter range of an enemy ship and then beaming an explosive device, such as a photon torpedo, into a vital area of the target, typically the engine room. The internal explosion would theoretically cripple or destroy the target.

Flaws

  • Such an attack would typically require the attacking ship to lower its shields, leaving it vulnerable to enemy fire for several seconds while attempting to carry out the attack. Given the destructiveness of typical Imperial and Federation starship weapons, such a window of opportunity could easily result in the attacker being crippled or destroyed before the attack succeeded. In fact, in Star Trek, it is not at all uncommon for an unshielded vessel to be destroyed by a single shot.
  • Such an attack would typically require the target to be unshielded. Against an unshielded target, the attacker's weapons would likely be sufficient to cripple or destroy the target without resorting to transporter-based attacks. See above for common results of attacking an unshielded vessel in Star Trek. Nonetheless, it is common to see attackers use transporters to insert boarders onto a ship that has lost shield function, so a transporter bomb attack is plausible under these conditions.
  • Numerous phenomena -- including electromagnetic fields, dense materials, and particle radiation -- interfere with the operation of transporters. Even unshielded targets of such an attack would likely possess armor or jamming technology capable of interfering with transporter function. However, it is usually easier to beam something into an area with interference than to beam something out, so these conditions will often pose less of a problem for inserting troops or -- by extension -- deploying a weapon.

Implementation

  • In ENT "Civilization", the crew of the Enterprise are able to transport an alien antimatter reactor from a planet into space in the path of a hostile starship. They then shoot the reactor, causing it to explode. The explosion causes enough damage to the alien ship to allow the Enterprise to defeat the technologically superior foe.
  • On at least one occasion, the crew of the USS Voyager were able to transport a bomb into a Borg sphere, destroying it.
  • The Tau'ri in the Stargate universe sometimes attempt to transport nukes onto enemy ships using various types of teleportation technology, with mixed success.