During the final scene when they play music to disrupt the link/communications of the swarming ships, why and how are the ships all of a sudden blowing up? Then the Yorktown station also plays music and then boom all the ships are blowing up?

Is there any explanation why these ships would start exploding?

1 Answer 1


Yes. They explain it right before it happens. They introduced a Very High Frequency (VHF) signal into the control signal that keeps the swarm ships from flying into each other. The ships need to communicate to coordinate and prevent each other from flying into each other. The VHF signal confused the guidance system and they started crashing into each other or exploding.

If you can play some sort of disruptive communication signal inside the swarm it might somehow effect the capacity the way it coordinates.
It will have to be the frequency they will not anticipate.
It will cause a chain reaction that will wipe out the whole swarm.

They play an audio record as that signal.

It's pure technobabble that in no way would work in real life... Music is not VHF range, and VHF isn't really high frequency compared to other radio signals. Human Hearing and music is up to 20kHz, and VHF is 30 MHz to 300 MHz, about 1500 to 150000 times higher frequency. But consider that any number of signals are much higher frequencies, wifi is 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. THF is Terahertz, Trillions of Hertz. It's an obsolete name for the frequency range, kept for legacy reasons. VHF would be a poor option to use as a "Very High Frequency" signal, and Audio even less so. They pandered to the lowest common denominator.

  • Ok, that explains it better, so long as it sound technobabbly plausible :-)
    – farinspace
    Aug 22, 2016 at 4:47
  • Well, music may include inaudible high frequencies, but overall your point is perfectly valid. Good thing Starfleet didn't want to pay MP3 royalties. :)
    – Mario
    Aug 22, 2016 at 7:36
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    In the last paragraph you compare the frequency of "sound waves" (human hearing) to the frequency of "electromagnetic waves" (radio signals). Those are different things. You can use VHF to broadcast music, e.g. FM Radio. - Why that would interfere with the drone's guiding system, I have no idea.
    – Oliver_C
    Aug 22, 2016 at 9:24
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    @Oliver_C yes, but they make it seem like the Beastie Boys, or Jaylah's music player is by default a VHF signal. Like why would you store the music as modulated for radio transmission instead of a plain uncompressed audio file. The two concepts are stand alone and unrelated unless intentionally mixed.
    – cde
    Aug 23, 2016 at 1:03
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    @cde - from what I remember the song was chosen because it was "loud and distracting" (Kirk says this after Scotty suggest the swarm might be disrupted by a VHF signal). - Jaylah also then says "Do not break my music!", which Scotty counters with "Break it? You'll get an upgrade." - So I don't think the Beasty Boys song was "naturally" VHF.
    – Oliver_C
    Aug 24, 2016 at 9:30

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