Near the end of Homefront episode, we learn that (probably) changeling spies have destroyed entire Earth's power relay system, and that has rendered Earth virtually defenseless. How is this possible?

In my opinion, this is a great absurdity even today, not to mention in the 24th century. Imagine today, that virtually every power plant or ground power source has been disabled. Does this make Earth defenseless? What about batteries (millions, if not billions of them across entire planet surface)? What about mobile power generators? And finally -- what about weapons themselves? Does every bomb, rocket, rife, mine, ship or plane really require to be permanently connected to a ground powering system / power relaying system to make it operable?

Not to mention, how it was possible, that a number of how many... three hundreds, half of the thousand Dominion spies managed to destroy every power relay system on the entire Earth at exactly the same time! This is another absurdity to me. Imagine, again today, how much man power and preparation it would require (if it would be possible at all) to turn off power of all Earth's power plants and other power sources at the same time? It would require at least an army of hundreds of thousands, plus the same group to guard those, that the first group was mimicking. It would require a massive, invasion-like action, coordinated in every detail to disable power on entire planet, having 150 million square kilometers of land! Even in 24th century, even with Dominion technology, that sounds like a complete impossibility, if not nonsense?

While we don't know this, I think, that watching "Homefront" and other episodes we may safely assume, that the total number of Dominion / changelings / The Great Link spies on Earth is no bigger than 20-100.

In my opinion, turning off the power on an entire planet, even if possible to achieve, would by no means render Earth defenseless. And that this part in "Homefront"'s screenplay is one big (and stupid) hole.

What am I missing here?

  • 1
    Not to mention orbital defenses, including starships. Jan 8, 2016 at 10:14
  • 1
    Perhaps Power Systems are a lot more centralized than today. And weapon systems a lot more dependant on computers and power system. And the trust in the relay system so high that no engineer considers backup power sources. Not everything becomes less fragile if technology advances. More the contrary. :-) This does not explain orbital defenses and independant vehicles, I know.
    – Hothie
    Jan 8, 2016 at 10:46
  • @Hothie Not likely given O'Brian's comments about always having a backup and a second backup. Jan 8, 2016 at 19:29
  • Greetings to pesky downvoter, who is so scared, that is unable to tell, what is wrong with this question.
    – trejder
    Jan 9, 2016 at 18:31
  • Former military here: You don't have to destroy all of the power distribution capacity. You have to destroy only the ability to regulate that power. Federation technology is power intensive. If I disrupt their ability to regulate their power, control how that power is distributed, I can turn off most of their defensive capacity and never damage any aspect of their military machine. They simply cannot power it. Think of it like firefighting. Cause fires, turn off central water supply, can't put out fires. Hoses work, fire hydrants work, no water to use with them. Jan 20, 2016 at 8:43

5 Answers 5


It was not the Dominion that destroyed (more like disabled) Earth's power system, but instead a rogue part of Starfleet lead by Admiral Leyton.

It's explained in the second part, Paradise Lost. If I remember correctly, the entire power system was disabled by planting a virus that affected the power system.

  • Accepting your answer as it partially answers the question (second part -- about number of parties used in process). It does not answer the main question (how powering down entire Earth rendered it defenseless), but I have a feeling, that there is no answer for this question, except for assuming, that screenplay writers wasted another thing in another episode.
    – trejder
    Jan 9, 2016 at 14:22

The UFP uses EPS lines for power distribution. So their primary source of power is plasma. This is distributed from reactors to the individual points of usage.

Getting in a position to damage the reactors themselves might be difficult, however the grid itself has to have primary junctions and powerlines much like our powergrid has today.

However the entire Federation technology is using the same EPS grid. This gives some redundancy when one reactor fails so that the entire network still has some capacity left to redistribute power to all consumers. However just like with our powergrid today, if you get failures in too many points, the peak load could cause a total outage after rather small damage sustained.

Think about storm damage to some powerlines causing a blackout in half a country due to the sheer overload of power demand. Now if you can compromise enough powerlines, you could also today cause the entire earth to go dark with rather little effort.

However it wouldn't harm any networks that run on autonomous power, so the orbital defense systems would still very well be active. Planetary defense systems on the surface also should have redundant power supply and shouldn't rely on the public power grid, but no one knows how the UFP thought about that.

You COULD therefore cause a lot of chaos and a total blackout with rather little effort, but you shouldn't be able to fully disrupt the entire defense system... however reducing its effectiveness might be enough when you've got a giant fleet in orbit bombing the hell out of the planet below.

  • Your points seems reasonable. However, I can't agree with this line: "cause a lot of chaos and a total blackout with rather little effort". We're not talking about "rather little effort", if we're talking about powering-off entire planet. I could agree with it on your terms (talking about blacking-out half of the country at most), but not in terms presented in the episode (blacking-out entire planet). Your answer, other answer and all the comments seems to be supporting my theory, that this is a big hole in plot.
    – trejder
    Jan 8, 2016 at 14:19

Perhaps one of the reasons the Federation is so afraid of the Dominion is because it knows how complacent and vunerable it has become. Remember the DS9 episode where Risa had it's weather system sabatoged? Perhaps post Dominion War Federation will toughen up defenses at the expense of some convenience and comforts. I think getting families off starships is a start, if that has'nt been done already


The first part of your question was answered, explaining the loss of power due to Red Squad and a rogue part of Star Fleet. The second part is a little tough to answer, but consider the following:

During September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center Towers were hit and destroyed, what was the initial reaction? That would be fear. We didn't know who did it, why it was done. I remember People talking about possible invasion from a foreign country without any base in fact, only in fear. The entire air travel network was shut down and all planes were grounded. The military was put on full alert. Fighters could bee seen patrolling coastal areas for days after the attacks. Shortly after the towers were hit, we heard reports of the Pentagon being hit. Supposedly, one of the most secure places on Earth, for all intents and purposes, was crippled. Then reports of a fourth plane going down in Pennsylvania, and rumors of possibly a fifth plane that no one could account for. Whether you agree wit US Politics or not, agree with their standing compared to the rest of the world, their influence on the rest of the world, or not, it was the first tie in a long time the US had been so severely hit. The Executive Branch of our Government, the Military and Joint Chiefs of Staff, Emergency workers in all areas directly affected, and the Civilian population were all afraid. Who, what, why, these questions we had no answers to, and because of that, the country was struggling with fear and anxiety. Our entire military, waiting for the order to send them anywhere, some of the best technology in the world at our fingertips, and no where to use it.

Think about it. We as a country, have some of the best trained military in the world, and again, some of the best technology at our disposal, yet we couldn't stop four planes from not only being hijacked within our borders, but being used as flying bombs against a main hub for our military, two buildings dealing with not only domestic, but also foreign trade and economy, and possibly against the seat of power in our country, the White House. We were defenseless that day, anyone that was around and can distinctly remember what it was like, including myself, almost out of high school and ready to join the military, can tell you we were afraid and defenseless.

So how does this relate to Earth of the 24th century? Maybe what they were saying is that the fear of loss of the entire planet's power system puts not only the military, but also the civilians into a state of panic, much like what happened on 9/11. There are varying degrees of defenselessness, one of them can most certainly be paralyzing fear. Any person serving in the military of today, even with all the tech anyone could give them to make war, and train them in the most advanced tactics, is completely and utterly useless if they are completely paralyzed with fear.

Back to DS9. The Founders never needed thousands of Jem Hadar troops on the ground on Earth to make people afraid, but maybe a dozen, two dozen changelings, making themselves visible to people such as Sisko, to let them know they were there and could be anywhere and anyone, could conceivably make Star Fleet turn inward on itself, constantly worrying about who was actually pulling the strings, and in doing so, make the civilians mistrust the military and afraid of them, not knowing who was actually running Star Fleet. The thought process might have been if they can turn the Federation against itself, half the work is already done, and those they would be directly fighting, would be fighting having already been demoralized and paranoid, not only of their superiors but also of each other. If one of the most iconic planets in theFederation were to fall, the allies they were able to amass, the Klingons, the Romulans, and various other races as noted by Picard at the Beginning of Insurrection, quite possibly never would have happened. The Federation would then be fighting a war alone.

Looking at how the entire power grid of a planet being sabotaged might make said planet defenseless, from a logistical standpoint, might not be as grim as it was being stated. Defensive Platforms, Jupiter Station, as well as any other star ships they may have been in the vicinity would have no doubt defended Earth if they did indeed decide to invade at that time. But if any enemy is psychologically broken and afraid before an attack even occurs, that makes the enemy much more willing to either surrender before more lives are lost, or if they don't surrender, will allow for total conquest with less effort.


I'm a bit late to this question but I think its a matter of context.

The first part has been addressed: Red Squad did it with a virus, and full access control to the whole power grid.

The 2nd part is more interesting, and I often wondered this myself, so here's my theory based on whats seen in the 2 part episode:

Lets start with the obvious 'earth is NOT defenseless' as in it cant shoot down a few ships/handle a few ground troops with handheld weapons. BUT it IS defenseless against a large fleet, mass ground troops, and orbital bombardment with most of its defenses offline, (we don't know what earths defenses are exactly).

The wormhole was opening a closing frequently before this started: this implies the dominion has cloaking tech from the Cardassian/Romulan army that was destroyed, AND that a large fleet of cloaked dominion ships could now be in the alpha quadrant, possibly orbiting earth, (which now has little way of detecting them, coordinating effectively with starships, firing back from ground positions, ect).

Its my interpretation that this sentence in context simply means: with the number of clocked ships we believe came through the wormhole, the earth (with alot of ground weapons, tracking, comms, computers offline) would be defenseless again a fleet of ships, with possibly tens of thousands of jem'dar troops beaming in to major cities, and could now even level the planet from orbit.

They can still use whats left, as well as call starships to earth to give a damn good fight. BUT with most of the defenses gone it would probably be hopeless. Imagine if all nuclear missiles in the US were sabotaged by the government - it could still put up a really good fight, but against an enemy that just wants you gone, (not conquered), it would be reduced to dust regardless of the remaining weapons.

I think this is what the mean by defenseless, and NOT that they cant fight back with the resources the have left.

This is just the way I've come to interpret that statement.

  • Sounds like a nice answer. However, I'm a bit reluctant from upvoting it since I'm confused by a lack of periods at the end of sentences and a lack of commas in middle of sentences. Can you add them (writing grammatically correct sentences here is a nice idea at all) or at least explain, why you're not using them?
    – trejder
    Apr 2, 2017 at 11:55
  • 1
    I've edited it, that's the best I can do, hope thats better now
    – Matt
    Apr 3, 2017 at 20:39
  • 1
    I had a brain hemorrhage 4 years ago my mind works fine but word,spelling,grammar and speech I had to relearn. Thats why I may not use correct grammar I didnt think it was appropriate to mention that in every post. sorry
    – Matt
    Apr 3, 2017 at 20:50
  • In this case, this is a pitfall on my side, for which I'm really, really sorry. It is just that we have a lot of people around SE that are making all these mistakes due to pure laziness. Really sorry, again.
    – trejder
    Apr 4, 2017 at 9:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.