In the episode The Nth Degree, Barclay is modified by the Cytherians in order to make contact. Barclay goes super genius and starts to make radical changes to the Enterprise in order to destroy the probe as well as travel to the Cytherian's home.

So the shield strength is increased 300% in order to survive the proximity of the full spread torpedo explosions. Do we know if this is a permanent change? Does Starfleet know of this, and apply the technology to all starships? Or do we know?

Does the holodeck have that interface he built stored, or any data on how travel beyond maximum warp is achieved? Or are humans too feeble to understand whatever data is left after this incident?

So much as I recall there's no mention of Barclay's improvements past this episode, but I'm also not professing to be a walking index of Star Trek knowledge... maybe there are some here who can answer this?


2 Answers 2


The implication is that the technical changes were too esoteric to be used on an ongoing basis. They seem to be largely dependent on Barclay's input and not replicatable:

[Riker catching up to Barclay, heading the same direction, smiling with obvious admiration.]

RIKER: (continuing) ... Everyone's still trying to figure out exactly how you did it.

BARCLAY: It... it just occurred to me that I could set up a frequency harmonic between the deflector and the shield grid... using the warp field generator as a power flow anti-attenuator and that of course naturally created an amplification of the inherent energy output. (TECH?)

[Riker lost him a long time ago.]

TNG: The Nth Degree - Original Screenplay

There's the distinct possibility that some of the knowledge the Cytherians shared was useful when the new Sovereign Class was being designed, but that's pure guesswork.

  • Still though, even if they don't understand it, it's not like Barclay undid the modifications to the shields... that we know of... so just by comparison to standard spec those changes would be traceable.
    – Kai Qing
    May 3, 2016 at 23:55
  • 4
    Just because you can see someone do something, doesn't mean you can replicate it.
    – Valorum
    May 4, 2016 at 0:08
  • Right but it's a computer modification. I would assume all changes to any system would be logged. Even normal user input seems to be logged on starships, though I would need to find some kind of reference in universe to back that statement... and yeah that video is insane. Barclay must have made that level, and it had to be Barclay playing
    – Kai Qing
    May 4, 2016 at 0:19
  • I submit that there is no canonical evidence that the shield strength modification stopped working at any point. It could just as easily have persisted all the way through to Generations.
    – Kevin
    May 4, 2016 at 3:32
  • @KaiQing sure the 'normal' computer logged lots of things, but one could guess that many of the new features Barclay implemented were happening on the human side of the human/computer interface. Once Barclay got deprogrammed, all the new magical features were lost. Or perhaps Barclay used his direct connection to disable logging for some reason.
    – Zoredache
    May 4, 2016 at 6:27

Not a Star Trek geek myself, but there are a lot of things that are non-original on the Enterprise. When Geordi meets the designer of the Enterprise, she is surprised by a lot of the hacks the crew have done over the years to extract its maximum potential. It's possible that the modified shield becomes the "new normal".

That said, I don't remember there being any particular effort to standardise the strength of shields versus weapons - sometimes one shot goes straight through, sometimes they can take a bunch of hits before the shields give up, and sometimes they just keep rolling with the punches while instrument panels fly off in sparks.

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