Communicators and Serenity Concord and All That (Comments Appreciated)


I want to replace the Solas Tempus Communicator with a TOS style Communicator and make it a political incident where people find out Solas Tempus was using them to spy on people.

Full Thoughts on Communicators

Alright, so most everyone knows about the Solas Tempus Communicator.

Something that I’ve always had a bit of an issue with is how much the communicator is capable of. Now, previously I have said Solas Tempus gives these out because they spy on people with them. They can be used to track, listen in, gather data, etc… Now with Solas Tempus as this semi-secret spy organization this sounded ok. However, the more I think about it, the more this doesn’t fit with the direction the story is going.

I’d rather not just retcon it either. I like that idea of having a dark past that has to get sorted out now that they are representing a legitimate political power in the known galaxy, things would have to change. Someone would figure out what these things can do, even if Solas Tempus disables the advanced features of the device, someone would figure out how to reactivate them and it would become a problem somewhere.

This leads to the question of what can be done, in game? Now, out of game, I’d like to know what people think about some thing. I’m kind of a Star Trek purist and while the combadge idea that we were using is a good one, I never really liked combadges. They are handy but I felt they put way too much into such a tiny little thing. Another fudge by the creators, I suppose. Now we did use combadges originally that were shaped like the Solas Tempus shield, which would work. I’m even sure someone could find a way to generate an image of one. However, being a purist to the original Trek in that they have phaser pistols and not those ergonomic things, I’d kind of like to go with a traditional Star Trek communicator.

Original TOS Communicator and New Discovery Communicator

I’m pretty sure we all know what the original communicator looks like of course, but there it is in reasonably high resolution. Large microphone, good size speaker, minimal controls. This would solve several combadge problems, many times in TNG and Voyager (more than TNG) we see Tom Paris or B’Lana having to open the tiny badge up and make adjustments. I don’t see this as a workable solution.

Here is an image of the combadge open in Voyager:

Here we see what that would be like. What if you don’t have an engineer present, or tools, they have several times in TNG where Riker or someone taps his combadge like 5 times trying to get a signal though, which kind of reminds me of clicking the mouse 20 times after Windows has locked up. Of course one could argue that tapping it multiple times tells some onboard computer to do a frequency scan of some kind. Then one gets into possible complex codes of tapping to get it to do various things, how workable is that? If we see Starfleet (and thus Solas Tempus) as a military organization they want something that has a lot of capabilities but is simple. So if someone has to make changes in a combat situation (or emergency situation, lets say to not exclude other types of emergencies) can one expect the ground forces to remember how to tell the combadge to change to say, Subspace Channel 451, since Channel 229 is compromised (as can happen) or has too much interference? We see in The Royal that they loose contact with the Enterprise entirely but when the ship is able to find a new channel the communicators pick it right up, so… How?

Of course this makes it seriously seem like the combadge just scans all kinds of channels all the time, which is absurd (I think). Such a small device would have a tiny power source, that tiny power source would be at a premium! So you going to waste it just scanning endlessly? Perhaps one of those complex tapping combinations puts it into scan mode?

Now, one can also say that a Tricorder (standard issue for Solas Tempus, not so standard for Starfleet) can control a combadge, which makes sense that it can, but would they? Would you need one device to control another device, that is perhaps the single most important device on your person? I don’t think so, I really don’t see that as reasonable.

So, here is what I suggest… And please, let me know what everyone thinks…

I don’t think I want to use combadges at all! Maybe, have the option, for a covert mission, to have a combadge. I think that the Solas Temps Communicator does way entirely too much already, for a lot of the reasons I listed above. So I’d like to discontinue using it, have it officially discontinued by the Serenity Concord after political powers find out that it is being used as a covert listening device, there is pressure from the major governments to either pull out of the Temporal Reconciliations, which would cripple Solas Tempus, if they do not discontinue the use of such an invasive device. It would be a major political incident.

Then have all crew, including refugees and citizens issued a Communicator. In the 1980’s they didn’t really think anyone would want to carry about a communications device, ever. Even in 1979 they felt that Kirk should have a communicator watch in Star Trek TMP:

Later they moved away from that to other variations of the communicator (probably because it looked lame). When TNG rolled out they didn’t think people would carry that shit around in the future. Well we all know now, people are happy to carry phones around with them. So, I’d like to use the TOS communicator, simple to use, easy to carry, and well, just looks cool IMO.

So, I’d love to get some opinions.

So after feedback from various people, not the least of which were @t0l and @Navaruk (thanks guys), I’ve decided to not go with TOS’s communicator design. For one, I realized back in WWI, the birth of the wrist watch happened because soldiers couldn’t take the time to pull out a pocket watch (then the popular form of male time keeping) out of their pocket all the time. So first was developed early leather straps designed to hold a whole pocket watch. While wrist watches were popular with women at the time, they were not with men until the war.

So Tal had the expression that the feature set wasn’t the problem, but that it needed to be durable. Nav then also pointed out that we have smart watches now, perhaps get rid of a few things that make it over powered and make the whole thing more reasonable.

When I came up with the idea of the Solas Tempus Communicator, smart watches were not a thing. There was a lot of concept art about the idea of a phone on your wrist, but nothing had yet been developed. The Apple Watch wasn’t even a rumor, though there were rumors that Samsung, LG, and Motorola were all working on a new “Pebble for your phone” concept. So today we have solved a lot of the issues with phones and wrist watches and all of that. There are a lot of very stylish designs on the market today.

I didn’t want to use use the Apple Watch, no matter how pretty it is, as that was just too obvious. Samsung, however, has many of it’s Gear designs out there.

I am partial to the last one myself, but I thought I’d get some opinions.

So the Samsung model was chosen at a margin of 57%, so that is what we’re using.

Really the only things I removed were the transporter node and the pattern buffer. Beacons made sense, and I wanted a person to be able to install a QUINN AI and its hologram to the device too.

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