Five people flagged my question from yesterday was "unclear" while not comments to help me understand why.

How did one specific torpedo hit the USS Enterprise in one specific episode of Star Trek: Discovery?

  • The episode is very clear: Such Sweet Sorrow II

  • The torpedo is very clear: The one launched from Section 31 which killed Admiral Cornwell

  • The Target is very clear: USS Enterprise (I even took a picture from the torpedo's perspective)

  • The problem is very clear: how did it hit a ship with shields and phasers, knowing that other torpedoes did not get through the shields?

Someone please tell me what is "unclear" about this question? It seems to be an important part of the story and I want to know.

3 Answers 3


I don't think your question falls under the category of Unclear What You're Asking. I don't think I've ever seen an episode of Star Trek, but I was able to understand the question. In fact, both other answers to this Meta question contain (at least the beginnings of) an answer to the main site question, which itself would seem to indicate that the question is clear enough.

However, I think that it may be somewhat of an exaggeration to say, as you do in the title here, that "this question cannot be made more clear". Rare is the question that cannot be made more clear in any way. There is almost always room for improvement. In this case, for example, you could elaborate more on your premises. Why do you think the torpedo should have gotten through? In the Meta question here you say "How did it hit a ship with shields and phasers, knowing that other torpedoes did not get through the shields?" This is not mentioned in the actual question, and the fact that other torpedoes did not get through certainly seems to be a relevant detail.

In any case, the question currently has two reopen votes (and two leave closed votes), so it is certainly possible that it will end up getting reopened.

  • My post only has 7 lines of text. One of those lines was "How did the torpedo evade phasers and penetrate the shields?" The graphic shows everything you believe was missing. In any case, your arguments STILL amount to a valid answer: "The shields were broken" or "turned off" or "had too many attacks." Even your response doesn't justify a close vote. But thanks.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 2, 2019 at 4:15
  • 4
    @VogonPoet I didn't say anything about "The shields were broken" or "turned off" or "had too many attacks." Nor did I vote to close. I said that the question is not unclear but it can still be improved.
    – Alex
    Oct 2, 2019 at 4:30
  • Improved. . . . The thank you was not sarcastic.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 2, 2019 at 4:35

For my part, the key thing was you seemed to be making unwarranted assumptions about how a Star Trek space battle ought to work:

How did the torpedo evade phasers and penetrate the shields?

Did Captain Pike specifically allow this torpedo to hit Enterprise? Shields and phasers were all online and working hard!

Your question assumes that something special was necessary to overcome these defensive measures, when that assumption does not appear to be warranted. If there was a particular reason that you expected the shields and phaser defenses to make the ship impregnable, you should spell it out. Otherwise, the question seems to be asking why what happened on the show did not happen the way you hypothesized it would; and that is not really an answerable question.

  • 8
    If a question is based on an incorrect premise, isn’t the simple response to post an answer explaining that the premise is incorrect, rather than closing it as Unclear?
    – Alex
    Oct 2, 2019 at 1:22
  • I haven#t seen much of ST:Discovery, but in every other Star trek series, torpedoes do not penetrate shields, unless they are specifically configured to do so (matching shield harmonics or other technobabble). Is St:Discovery so different from regular Star Trek that the assumption that torpedoes don't penetrate shields is really unwarranted? Has ST:Discovery established in some prior episodes that shields are penetrable? All those things could be explored in an answer. The question is very clear, and if the premise (which is reasonable knowing the standard canon) is flawed that is an answer.
    – Polygnome
    Oct 2, 2019 at 19:47

I can't answer for those who voted to put your question on hold, but I can tell you that I read your question at the time, and could not find a way to answer it with anything but this:

Well, it just did. Shields and phases aren't perfect. Neither are the crew. Things get through. That's just the way it is when you're surrounded, outnumbered and outgunned.

I suspect that might be the reason behind your question being put on hold. It can't be answered with any real substance. I think the more pertinent question would be:

"How on earth did only one torpedo get through?"

  • Star Trek is built around the fundamental idea that things always work BECAUSE the engineers and operators are elite. You have never seen anything like the Star Wars Millennium Falcon in ST - where the Hyperdrive just breaks. If something doesn't work in ST, it was done on purpose. Gene Roddenberry actually put that in the writer's guide.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 2, 2019 at 1:06
  • 1
    Your second paragraph here seems like a valid answer to the main site question.
    – Alex
    Oct 2, 2019 at 1:24
  • 1
    @Vogon Poet, of course, without proof to what your saying, it might be seen as pure speculation and downvoted. Sourcing is everything when making a claim about how stuff works
    – Gnemlock
    Oct 2, 2019 at 1:27
  • @Gnemlock - Downvote is different than closing? arguing that "Shields block weapons" is speculation will be a hard sell, but not relevant either way. These comments show that the question is obviously very clear. Closing was inappropriate.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 2, 2019 at 4:04
  • @Vogon Poet, you stated that 'If something doesn't work, there is a reason for it.. Gene Roddenberry actually put that in the guide', in rebuke to someone pointing out that things don't always work 100% of the time. If you posted that as an answer without showing a source to back up your claim, I would assume it was speculation, and might warrant downvoting. Nothing to do with the topic of your question being closed.
    – Gnemlock
    Oct 2, 2019 at 6:24

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