In the tng episode "When the Bough Breaks", S1 Ep17, after the enterprise fixed the ozone layer, cured the people, and agreed to teach them about their technology and how it functioned, why didn't the federation gain their repulsion weapon technology that was able to send the enterprise three light days away at warp 9(and claimed to be able to send it much farther)(and any other advanced technologies they might have, ie the ability to cloak an entire planet for a millenium)?

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    In universe, probably because it takes time to reverse engineer advanced technology. And since even the owners don't know how it works... – user16696 Mar 31 '15 at 14:31
  • Yes, cde but they had access to the custodian. Even Wesley was granted level 3 access to ask it any question. It's clear at the end of the episode that the Federation is going to help them. Data is capable of completely disconnecting the voice commands to the custodian within a few seconds. Simply ask the custodian how the technology works. It's not like they had to reverse engineer it in a vacuum, if they had to reverse engineer it at all. You'd think the federation would be fixated on a power that could...let's say throw a Borg cube back to the delta Quadrant? @cde – JMFB Mar 31 '15 at 16:53
  • Using it is not the same as understanding how the machine works. In fact, this is the entire plot of the episode. They didn't know of the power supply or how it was affecting them. And the tech might be so far advance that they nor all of the federation scientists could make use of it in the decade of TNG. Or safely as it causes infertility. – user16696 Mar 31 '15 at 17:35
  • They didn't know how it worked until they got on the planet. They managed to beam through the shield, so it couldn't have been that advanced. Data said he could take control of it that it would be several hours, but that he was able to lockout anyone else from it within seconds. This hardly seems like an unduly challenge if data can figure all that out simply by looking at the panel and hitting a few buttons. – JMFB Apr 1 '15 at 2:42
  • User interface vs science behind it. Can you use a gps? What about building a geosynchronous radio satellite system? – user16696 Apr 1 '15 at 3:18

The best answer I can find is from an interview from the TNG Companion (see below) in which it's stated that the original idea was that the power supply (for the repulsor) was simply a "little black box"; something unfathomable and clearly far beyond the Federation's own technology.

In the absence of any additional info (Aldea isn't mentioned at all in any further TV episodes and only tangentially in the EU books), we're left to conclude that the reason the Federation didn't replicate the energy source and repulsor tech is that it's either;

  • Too advanced (and that in the intervening decade they simply haven't been able to replicate it)

  • Inherently dangerous (note that Data describes the incredible energy potential, the known propensity for Aldean tech to cause infertility and the fact that they enter the Power Station with extreme caution)

This was another script in which [Rob] Legato [Visual Effects Supervisor] would provide an impressive yet inexpensive FX solution to a story need: the Aldean computer’s power room. “The script called for a ‘little black box’ power station, but that wasn’t enough,” he said. “It needed to be something that left you awestruck—but how, on a low budget?”



They ENTER cautiously. In the center is a shiny black box, not very large. It PULSATES with a GLOWING LIGHT.

RADUE : What is it?

PICARD : The legacy your Progenitors left you, Radue. The source of your power. And your problems.

DATA : It is reading incredible amounts of energy, sir. Even more since we have taken down the shield.

  • I'm not talking about just cloaking an entire planet. How about just the repulsor weapon mounted to an unmanned ship? That'd come in handy orbiting the earth, a settlement, or important space station. It would be a perfect Federation weapon as it doesn't harm anyone but neutralizes the threat. Couldn't the custodian clue them in if it's simply an issue of understanding the technology? Also on the safety issue, it seems like the shield was working for a long time before it actually made them sterile. Why would it be such an issue? And Crusher cured them in a couple of minutes. – JMFB Apr 1 '15 at 2:37
  • @jmfb - Speculation: The repulsor beam is exclusively dependent on that kind of power source only. Speculation II: The repulsor beam uses some unique feature of the planet. Speculation III: The beam is a feature of the cloak (known to cause sterility) – Valorum Apr 1 '15 at 5:32
  • Speculation 1 seems plausible or at least that they would need a power source of that magnitude. Speculation II that it's a unique feature of the planet is sort of taking from the episode where B'elanna tries to implement the folding space transporter that Tuvak traded the library for. But there's no evidence of that in this episode. There's nothing unique about the planet that's stated, only the technology that was left there. As for Speculation 3 it stated that the energy levels boosted after the cloak was shut down. So it would appear that they are all independent features or abilities. – JMFB Apr 1 '15 at 7:10
  • No other answers are coming through so I'm going to award it. – JMFB Aug 20 '15 at 6:14

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