Any fan of more than one science-fiction franchise has thought, "What if the two collide?" Superman versus Peter Petrelli, the Cybermen versus the Borg, Mortal Kombat vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For us, we like to ponder which tech toys would win out in head-to-head match-ups. For instance, could the Death Star take on a fleet of Shadow vessels from Babylon 5?
In what we hope is the first of many sci-fi tech contests, we look for a victor between the Starship Enterprise from the original Star Trek and the Battlestar Galactica from the new, um, Battlestar Galactica (disclosure: The SCI FI Channel, DVICE's owner, broadcasts BSG). Will Trek's futuristic technology win out over the down-and-dirty battlestar? Or will simplicity and durability endure?
Hit the jump for this epic battle. Jump!
In This Corner… the Enterprise
Captained by the brash and headstrong James T. Kirk, the Constitution-class vessel is the flagship of the United Federation of Planets in the 23rd Century and probably one of the most recognizable starship designs here in the 21st. Unlike the Galactica, the Enterprise is sprightly and agile, though it's geared mainly toward exploration and scientific discovery.
And In This Corner… the Galactica
Guardian and workhorse of the surviving humans from the Twelve Colonies, the Battlestar Galactica is helmed by the tough and gravely Admiral William Adama. Whereas the Enterprise is charged with seeking out new life, the Galactica is instead a well-armed protector of the Colonial Fleet.
Round 1: Phasers VS. Kinetic-Energy Turrets
Phasers: Phasers look like lasers, sound like lasers and melt/destroy things like lasers, but they're actually masers ("Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation"), which were like the lasers of the '60s. The versatile beams of energy have many settings — phasers fired in the series have stunned people, for instance, or overloaded energy sources. Oh, and blown things to smithereens. It wouldn't take that long to cut the Galactica into ribbons.
Kinetic-Energy Turrets: Rather than a few masers, the Galactica is covered by hundreds of kinetic-energy turrets. Where the Enterprise is precise, the Galactica is all brute force. Its main railgun batteries would be able to overwhelm the Enterprise's shields after a few broadsides, and, once it's down to the hull, look out.
The tech edge goes to… Enterprise. Her phasers have shown impressive ability to cut up ships with no shields, like Galactica.
Round 2: Photon Torpedoes VS. Nukes
Photon Torpedoes: Photon torpedoes are the no-fuss, going-to-blow-you-up-now antimatter weapons carried by Federation vessels (among others). In Star Trek lore, the torpedoes are made from a balance of matter and antimatter that results in explosive nuclear energy upon impact. Coupled with hull-scorching phasers, photon torpedoes could conceivably blow off whole chunks of the Galactica.
Nukes: Ah, nukes. The most destructive weapon ever created by man, both the colonists and Cylons sling them back and forth at one another in space (or, in the case of the Cylons, use a whole bunch of them to wipe out the colonies). While the Galactica has precious few nukes, they pack quite a wallop. We shudder to think what would be left of Enterprise if it took one with its shields down.
The tech edge goes to… Galactica. While we're convinced the Galactica could take more than a few photons, one nuke and it's all over for Kirk and crew.
Round 3: Sensors VS. DRADIS
Sensors: The Enterprise's sensors keep its crew in control of any battle. They can read everything from enemy positions, a ship's combat readiness, enemy crew counts, and more. The screen on the bridge also gives the Enterprise a visual read to see what's going on.
DRADIS: The magical sensors in Star Trek aren't as realistic as the Galactica's DRADIS system, which operates a lot like the radar systems modern day combat vessels rely on. Plus the system makes cool noises.
The tech edge goes to… Galactica. When it comes to a battle, DRADIS is far more useful, with a very clear interface detailing enemy positions and threats to the Galactica, while offering an overview of the theater of battle.
Round 4: Shuttles VS. Vipers
Shuttles: Though they have light armaments, Enterprise's shuttlecraft aren't really designed for combat. Though their impulse drives could probably outrun Galactica's Vipers, running away doesn't win you the game.
Vipers: Superiority is superiority, and The Big G's compliment of Viper spacecraft would be able to harass the Enterprise virtually unopposed. That means more targets for the Enterprise, and more cover for the Galactica's auxiliary craft, such as its ship-busting-capable Raptors.
The tech edge goes to… Galactica. No contest. The big battlestar's Vipers are a huge advantage over those comparatively fragile shuttles.
Round 5: Impulse Engines & Warp Drives VS. Ion Engines & FTL Drives
Impulse Engines & Warp Drives: Vessels in the Star Trek universe are agile, able to travel between star systems at different levels of faster-than-light warp speed. In "normal" space, impulse drives allow the Enterprise to run circles around enemy vessels. This maneuverability is one of the ship's greatest strengths, as it throws the Galactica's conventional approach to a battle — pouring out heavy fire while swarming an enemy with Vipers — out the airlock.
Ion Engines & FTL Drives: The Galactica's ion engines won't have it zipping around as effortlessly as the Enterprise — in fact, it moves more like a ship on the water — and its FTL drives typically bail it out of dangerous situations. Still, that doesn't mean the Galactica is helpless. It's a rough-and-rowdy vessel, and as long as its engines can keep it in range and in position, that's what matters. Plus the FTL drive has been used to gain the element of surprise more than once.
The tech edge goes to… Enterprise. The plodding Galactica just can't outmaneuver a warp-capable starship.
Round 6: Transporters VS. Raptors
Transporters: Transporters are just about the best way to get anywhere you want, and it would allow the Enterprise to deploy boarding parties with precision where they can disrupt the Galactica's operations the most — then beam out to avoid engagements with marines.
Raptors: While the Enterprise would have to lower its precious shields to use its transporters, the Galactica can launch Raptors at will, and each Raptor (covered by Vipers, of course) could crash Enterprise with boarding teams of its own.
The tech edge goes to… Enterprise. Beaming in and out of a ship is just too much of an advantage, no matter how dedicated Galactica's teams are.
Round 7: Shields VS. Point-Defense Cannons
Shields: Deflector shields keep the Enterprise safe from just about anything and, as long as they're up, that means the hull is protected. If the hull is protected, that means so are the ship's systems, so the Enterprise can stay in the fight longer while at full capacity. It would probably take some serious firepower from Galactica and its Vipers to get through the shields.
Point-Defense Cannons: Galactica often uses its cannons to create a massive flak field that cuts all enemy fighters and missiles to shreds. Conceivably, it would also cause photon torpedoes to detonate prematurely and deplete phasers of most of their punch. On top of that, Galacita's armor — which has withstood both a nuclear detonation and falling through an atmosphere — makes it one tough motherfrakker.
The tech edge goes to… Galactica. Though the Enterprise's shields are impressive, the Galactica has shown it can take a serious punch while dishing out several its own.
Winner: Battlestar Galactica
We have our winner! It's the Galactica by a hair — 4 points to the Enterprise's 3. The Galactica's tried-and-true grit triumphs over the Enterprise's elegance. The Big G has had to put up with more than a few tense border skirmishes with goatee'd Klingons; it's had to take on hosts of Cylon baseships and raiders, all without a starbase to pull into for repairs.