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In Enterprise's episode arc The Forge / Awakenings / Kir'shara , Captain Archer and T'Pol enter The Forge, a desert on Vulcan described by Tucker as:

TUCKER: It's got electrical sandstorms. Geomagnetic instabilities so bad, technology won't work. So, no communicators, no scanners, no phase-pistols. We can't even beam you into it. You're going to have to walk in.

This is further demonstrated by Vulcan patrol ships:

T'POL: The dampening field only extends a few hundred metres above the ground. Patrol craft can fly over it, but their sensors can't see us.

Yet, the compound they are looking for, located within this wasteland, is protected by a forcefield of sorts:

T'POL: It's almost dawn. We need to find someplace to hide.

ARCHER:Over here. (A rock face.)

T'POL: That won't help us.

(He walks through the rock face, and T'Pol follows and enters T'Kareth Sanctuary)

How could they have erected and maintained a forcefield in this environment?

  • Because they've had decades to think about it? – Valorum Dec 23 '16 at 11:43
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    I suspect it's akin to Geordi's solution in the Ensigns of Command: LAFORGE: Captain, we can do it. We can modify the transporters. PICARD: Excellent. LAFORGE: It'll take fifteen years, and a research team of a hundred. – Valorum Dec 23 '16 at 11:46
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Look at what doesn't work: Communicators, Scanners, Phase Pistols, Transporters. All extremely complex pieces of technology.

You can't depend on a ray gun that can only shoot in very specific places. You can't use scanners or communicators because they all involve broadcasting electromagnetic radiation and recieving the same, and then processing that signal. The fields around you would just scramble everything up.

And the transporter is dangerous enough with everything working as expected. You don't want your matter stream getting scrambled on the way down.

But a hologram of a rockface? That's easy. I'm sure the vulcans can rig up a shielded device that displays a single, static hologram. It doesn't need to be mobile, so they can put it in a location where the fields are weakest. And it does't need to be complex; just a couple of lasers and a pre-built hologram film could (in the future, in theory) generate a stable, static image with none of the fancy duotronics "modern (Star Trek)" tech depends on.

Even the hologram is a convenience. If a static storm comes in and the hologram goes down, they can fill the door with rocks. Or just leave it there; guards probably aren't walking around during an extremely intense storm. They could have a backup prop which is way less convenient than walking through the rockface available when the simpletech solution fails.

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