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JirinPanthosa February 15 2013 06:57 AM

Combat at warp speed
 
One ship is at warp 8.60.

The other is at warp 8.63

Their speeds differ by more than lightspeed, yet they can still see each other on the viewscreen and target each other with phasers. How?

Once a ship goes to warp they should be untargettable, even the slightest variation in warp speed is millions of meters per second different, they shouldn't even be able to see each other much less target them with phasers. If they somehow can target each other, they should appear to be moving backward in time.

Mister_Atoz February 15 2013 08:18 AM

Re: Combat at warp speed
 
Well, since we have multiple examples of starships fighting each other at warp, we pretty much have to assume that they can. Now, I don't really know how subspace works, frankly neither do you, since it doesn't exist, so let's speculate.

I think we need to keep in mind that starships travelling at warp aren't really moving in the conventional sense, but rather warping the space around them. Warp Factors aren't really speeds as much as they are measurements of how much starship are warping the space around them them. Although a difference between warp 8.60 and 8.63 might equate to a difference of millions of kilometres in normal space, a starship travelling 8.63 is only warping space marginally more than a starship travelling 8.60 relative to each other.

I wrote paragraph or two of elaboration, but it's 2am here and it was making my head hurt, so instead we'll just pretend that every weapons station on every ship in every fleet in the galaxy is manned by Q...or Gandalf...

Also, it's usually best to chuck the whole "backwards in time" causality stuff when dealing with warp speed...that's half the reason the writer's invented warp drive to begin with...

Timo February 15 2013 09:48 AM

Re: Combat at warp speed
 
Quote:

even the slightest variation in warp speed is millions of meters per second different
So what? If starships can go that fast, other technologies can probably go even faster. We know that communications zip across the galaxy quickly enough: a "radar" system based on these fast-moving information packets is all that is needed to track the enemy, even across a great speed differential.

Numbers, even big ones, are just numbers. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that megameters per second would be a major challenge, technologically speaking.

Timo Saloniemi

CorporalClegg February 15 2013 09:56 AM

Re: Combat at warp speed
 
Magic!

King Daniel Into Darkness February 15 2013 10:14 AM

Re: Combat at warp speed
 
Quote:

JirinPanthosa wrote: (Post 7686190)
One ship is at warp 8.60.

The other is at warp 8.63

Their speeds differ by more than lightspeed, yet they can still see each other on the viewscreen and target each other with phasers. How?

Once a ship goes to warp they should be untargettable, even the slightest variation in warp speed is millions of meters per second different, they shouldn't even be able to see each other much less target them with phasers. If they somehow can target each other, they should appear to be moving backward in time.

We can see the ships in the same shot, and never see any of that lightwave/going backwards stuff because it's impressionistic and hugely simplified. They can target each other because their computers think and calculate at FTL speeds.

T'Girl February 15 2013 10:26 AM

Re: Combat at warp speed
 
Quote:

JirinPanthosa wrote: (Post 7686190)
yet they can still see each other on the viewscreen

I think what is on the viewscreen is usually a composite sensor image, and not simply a picture from a telescopic camera.

Metryq February 15 2013 11:39 AM

Re: Combat at warp speed
 
Quote:

CorporalClegg wrote: (Post 7686574)
Magic!

"Any sufficiently repeatable magic is indistinguishable from technology."
—Corollary to Clarke's Law

The Wormhole February 15 2013 02:20 PM

Re: Combat at warp speed
 
Dramatic license, or wibbly space magic. Take your pick.

Star Wolf February 15 2013 05:31 PM

Re: Combat at warp speed
 
On a related question why is there often the emphasis of dropping out of warp to fight? I can see pulling the other guy out of warp as it would be harder for him to break contact.

Timo February 15 2013 05:44 PM

Re: Combat at warp speed
 
That's one of the trio of real Trek combat oddities:

1) Why fight at impulse when warp is an option?
2) Why fight at point blank ranges when weapons demonstrably reach farther?
3) Why raise shields only at the very last moment?

These might be related issues, tied to power allocation. Perhaps ships at warp cannot shield themselves because the engines consume too much of the available power, or because shields during warp have to be configured in a special way. Shields might consume a lot of power, yet beam weapons might only pierce fully powered shields when fired right next to them. None of that is completely satisfactory, though.

It could also be argued that warp fields are easily collapsed by enemy fire (we see this happen in "A Time to Stand", say), so there is no particular advantage in waiting for the chasing enemy to do the collapsing.

The thing is, Star Trek combat is not just a rehash of any specific style of nautical warfare from Earth history. It is a mixture of several elements, with idiosyncrasies of its own - which makes it a bit more plausible than "battleships of Jutland in space" or "carriers of Coral Sea in space" or "frigates of Horatio Hornblower in space" or whatever. Plausible in the sense of there being more unexplained lacunae there, that is: we can insert explanations into those even when the writers and effects people don't do it for us.

Timo Saloniemi

CorporalClegg February 15 2013 07:05 PM

Re: Combat at warp speed
 
Quote:

Metryq wrote: (Post 7686733)
Quote:

CorporalClegg wrote: (Post 7686574)
Magic!

"Any sufficiently repeatable magic is indistinguishable from technology."
—Corollary to Clarke's Law

Don't make me break-out The Dumbledore!

T'Girl February 15 2013 07:12 PM

Re: Combat at warp speed
 
Quote:

Star Wolf wrote: (Post 7687591)
... the emphasis of dropping out of warp to fight?

Let's you divert power from the warp drive over to the weapons systems. Sure you can simply kick a torpedo out a air lock, but phasers are energy hogs.

:)


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