I honestly don't want to derail the hard work zDarby
is presenting here, but I feel compelled to mention that many of us assume that for warp drive (TOS style exclusively
) we'd be needing fuel.
However, there is no evidence for that in TOS. To be capable to perform warp drive the warp engines need to be "re-energized" and the obvious question remains "by what".
- In "Where No Man Has Gone Before" the warp engines are repaired / re-energized by what I can only conclude to be a power transmission from Delta Vega, not too dissimilar from the power transmission obviously performed in "The Cage" to power the phaser cannon on Talos IV. The chief engineer, Lt. Kelso, actually abandons the ship to perform these repairs.
- Similar story in "Tomorrow Is Yesterday". Definitely no port around to refuel antimatter, but still they manage somehow to "re-energize" the warp engines.
- And in "The Mark of Gideon" antimatter fuel doesn't appear to be an issue either, the ship can "re-energize" itself apparently indefinitely without ever visiting a port or fuel station (blssdwlf may have some other quotes I currently can't recall)
Then we have this waxing poetry in "The Ultimate Computer" and the movies ("May the wind be at our backs"). Essentially the Enterprise
is a submarine in space. Certain underwater currents carrying a submarine could probably qualify as an analogy to "wind" but that's not the case with a starship and solar winds most definitely will not do a mentionable job.
Considering matter-antimatter annihilation (and nuclear fusion) produce mostly gamma radiation I've come up with a wild theory that actually natural gamma radiation in space could be the stuff that propels a ship forward (like the wind in a manner of speaking) where antimatter and/or fusion reactors merely serve as "boosters" and onboard devices to manipulate the warp engines into higher performances.
How they could possibly accomplish that in the 23rd Centuy is beyond my understanding, but then, neither do I know how the transporter system actually operates. Sufficient to know it does the job, it has been designed for.
And then there is the other alternative popularized by Franz Joseph (IMHO as a result of his talks with astrophysicists or people who knew more about the subject than others), i.e. "space energy" (which also reflects in the TMP movie Enterprise
blueprints). Back in the 1970's it might have sounded outrageously like scifi, but given our current, yet insufficient, understanding of "dark energy" (well, some form
of yet unknown energy is apparently there) this might be a suitable and alternative candidate to merely relying on onboard fuels.
In the context of this thread, and though many of us usually consider "impulse power" to be a synonym for "sublight particle (fusion) thrust engines", the Romulans might just be using fusion reactors ("impulse power") to achieve higher warp velocities and therefore the Enterprise would be able to outrun the BoP because its antimatter reactor provide the bigger boost when it comes to warp speed.