I think it would be simpler to incapacitate a Star Fleet vessel by sabotaging its food replicators than fighting it out with shields and weapons. Are there safety mechanisms on replicators? If so, what are they? Can they be modified to include poison or other harmful substances in the foods they deliver?

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    Not technically a vessel I guess, but something similar to your idea happened in the DS9 episode Civil Defense
    – 1252748
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 21:49
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    i mean, if you could get past the shields, to disable something like the food replicators, your already most the way their to just disabling vital things like life support... plus your assuming that they wont figure it out after the first few eat of it, and fix it.
    – Himarm
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 21:50
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    A patient assassin could add a virus that takes weeks to incubate, and is triggered by a signal. Kill the crew and capture the ship without any fighting.
    – user16696
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 21:55
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    The safety interlocks can't be too stringent if tribbles can be dispensed instead of a chicken sandwich and a cup of coffee.
    – Kyle Jones
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 23:33

2 Answers 2


Yes, and no. Yes, you could do this, with enough access to the replicator systems, just like any computer system can be hacked and changed with the right access, electronic or physical. No, it won't be easy. The replicator, much like the transporter technology it partially uses, scans for viruses and hazardous particles. It has restrictions on replicating weapons, poisons, uniforms. Some things are not programmed in at all, while others need permission or access codes to produce the items. Finally, you would need to program in the new pattern and default programming, requiring familiarity with the system. And you have to get to them, through shields and an army of yellow shirts and civilian notice.


Given the sheer amount of difficulty that Counselor Troi had just to get a frigging chocolate sundae, this seems, while possible, ludicrously difficult.

  • This is Arthur Dent trying to get a cup of tea Level of difficulty we are talking about here.
    – Broklynite
    Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 11:02

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