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In Journey to Babel there was a fight between the Enterprise and an attacking ship.

I'm a bit confused about the ending. When the Enterprise shut off its power system the enemy ship was tricked into thinking it was disabled. It then approached closer but the Enterprise suddenly fired and disabled it.

How can a ship be tricked into thinking another shipped is disabled just when they power off their systems? If it's that easy why doesn't everyone do it?

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That's like dropping your hands and sticking your chin out in the middle of a fist fight. Not a good idea. – Morgan May 27 '14 at 22:06
Er.. Wasn't this question just asked this morning or yesterday? I know I didn't see this one, as I was at work... – Izkata May 27 '14 at 23:34
@Izkata I deleted that one because it had too many questions in one – Celeritas May 27 '14 at 23:49
@celeritas - this question is much better worded. You have my +1 – Valorum May 28 '14 at 7:29
Those who try it are usually nominated for a Darwin award? – Morgan Jun 13 '14 at 3:32

If someone is careful, such a ruse won't work. It was a move of desperation (like many of Kirk's more successful stratagems) that could have easily failed. Kirk used it because, in his opinion, there was no other viable option that could save his ship.

He also wasn't thinking entirely clearly, having been badly wounded earlier in that episode.

It is clearly shown that Star Trek sensors, when faced with a ship of known configuration and/or design, can detect when there is energy being provided to different systems. Thus, an alert enemy ship could have detected that the phasers were powered.

The enemy ship, along with the enemy agent on the Enterprise bridge, were on a suicide mission. Kirk could have discerned this based on the activities of the agent as well as the ship - if the ship was advanced enough to sustain the speed and ferocity it had been displaying while still retaining defensive capabilities (including a detailed sensor watch) it would have had to be far above and beyond anything Kirk had heard of. He reasoned that it wasn't caring much for defense, and would likely see the apparent loss of power (loss of lights, cessation of maneuvering) as a true loss of power, not a feint.

In short, Kirk's foe didn't care if it was a ruse, they wanted blood. They were already dead and just wanted to take someone with them. Kirk realized this intuitively, and set a desperate trap.

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In your last paragraph are you saying it wasn't always the ships intention to fire on the Enterprise? I was wondering why it had followed the Enterprise for so long without doing anything. – Celeritas May 27 '14 at 21:49
@Celeritas: Once it began the attack, it was always the intention to destroy the Enterprise if at all possible. From the outset, the goal was to destabilize the peaceful meeting regarding the planet/system joining the Federation. – Jeff May 28 '14 at 12:53
But why not attack immediately, why follow? Did they attack when the transmitting device in the spy was found so they new other ways to foil the meant were impossible? – Celeritas May 28 '14 at 16:52
@Celeritas: A ship attacking the meeting gives everyone there a mutual enemy and will help strengthen their desire to work together. Sowing dissent amongst people with a tenuous alliance is a much sounder long-term investment. – Jeff May 29 '14 at 1:36

If you shut off your power as a ruse, and the other side does not stop firing, then they destroy your ship on the next salvo, as you have no defenses.

This is why you don't try it in every battle.

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