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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old December 8 2009, 07:51 PM   #1
Hatchet2k4
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Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

Its been generally established that before the UFP decides to make first contact with a new species, they first need to establish FTL capability with warp drive, to prove they are advanced enough technologically to join the galactic community. While I agree with the idea in concept, I'm not sure that warp capability is the best measuring stick for that.

Warp drive requires extensive knowledge about subspace, and I have my doubts that it would be the first tech to arise from that knowledge. More likely subspace radio and more advanced sensors would come first. The energies required would be far less, and sending information FTL would seem easier than sending an entire ship! So if an unknown species can start to detect starships and can communicate with subspace frequencies, it seems more likely they would try to contact the UFP first.. Given that it seems like warp drive is too high a level to reach before initiating contact.

As an aside, was there ever a date, in canon or not, for when humans got subspace radio?

Ok this is somewhat rambling I suppose, but I was just curious what anyone else thought about the subject.
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Old December 8 2009, 07:55 PM   #2
thesovereignman
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

Hatchet2k4 wrote: View Post
Its been generally established that before the UFP decides to make first contact with a new species, they first need to establish FTL capability with warp drive, to prove they are advanced enough technologically to join the galactic community. While I agree with the idea in concept, I'm not sure that warp capability is the best measuring stick for that.

Warp drive requires extensive knowledge about subspace, and I have my doubts that it would be the first tech to arise from that knowledge. More likely subspace radio and more advanced sensors would come first. The energies required would be far less, and sending information FTL would seem easier than sending an entire ship! So if an unknown species can start to detect starships and can communicate with subspace frequencies, it seems more likely they would try to contact the UFP first.. Given that it seems like warp drive is too high a level to reach before initiating contact.

As an aside, was there ever a date, in canon or not, for when humans got subspace radio?

Ok this is somewhat rambling I suppose, but I was just curious what anyone else thought about the subject.

I would imagine that if an alien race contacted the UFP, then that would be a different story, but the UFP won't deliberately contact a race without them first having a warp drive
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Old December 9 2009, 12:41 AM   #3
T'Girl
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

Archer's Enterprise had subspace radio when they left orbit. During TBoT, Spock stated that the peace treaty between Earth and the Romulans was negotiated by subspace radio.
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Old December 9 2009, 01:11 AM   #4
C.E. Evans
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

I think the idea behind using warp drive as a benchmark is that it usually is at the point a civilization is ready to become a starfaring society (it probably represents a civilization's willingness to contact off-world civilizations and their technological capability to make such a thing happen).

But any kind of benchmark is inherently unfair because not everyone can meet it.

In the case of the Federation's first contact policy, it was apparently decided that if a civilization hasn't progressed to point of developing FTL drive, then it still has some growing up to do, IMO...
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Old December 9 2009, 02:34 AM   #5
Anwar
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

I think the idea is more that once they have Warp Drive, it's inevitable they'll meet other spacefaring species so they may as well just make contact then.
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Old December 9 2009, 12:51 PM   #6
The Castellan
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

I think warp drive being a requirement is a crock of BS. Is the Federation going to have them on a leash like the 22nd century Vulcans did with Earth?

It's like someone saying to someone else, "Sorry, but you're not welcome to this party, since you either don't have a fancy degree or make $100,000 a year."
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Old December 9 2009, 01:24 PM   #7
Timo
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

Vulcans had no real leash on the Earthlings once Earth invented warp. All sorts of interstellar interaction was obviously going on between Earth and the advanced cultures of assorted space aliens.

I agree with Anwar that the warp drive thing (which BTW is never mentioned onscreen) is merely a distinction that marks the end of any attempts at protecting the natives from the harsh world, and the beginning of their own interaction with said world.

I don't think subspace communications are easier to invent than warp drive, though. If that were true, we'd probably have heard of it already - everybody (and not just Sarjenka from "Pen Pals") would be eavesdropping on galactic communications and attending chatrooms and purchasing goods from gww.amazon.ufp.

Perhaps warp is always invented first because it is a crude application of the subspace field theory, and all refinements such as communications or sensors come decades or centuries later?

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Old December 9 2009, 03:28 PM   #8
Lazarus
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

The Castellan wrote: View Post
I think warp drive being a requirement is a crock of BS. Is the Federation going to have them on a leash like the 22nd century Vulcans did with Earth?

It's like someone saying to someone else, "Sorry, but you're not welcome to this party, since you either don't have a fancy degree or make $100,000 a year."
Or like not handing over car keys to twelve year old boys! Oh wait...
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Old December 9 2009, 03:46 PM   #9
barnaclelapse
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
I think the idea behind using warp drive as a benchmark is that it usually is at the point a civilization is ready to become a starfaring society (it probably represents a civilization's willingness to contact off-world civilizations and their technological capability to make such a thing happen).

But any kind of benchmark is inherently unfair because not everyone can meet it.

In the case of the Federation's first contact policy, it was apparently decided that if a civilization hasn't progressed to point of developing FTL drive, then it still has some growing up to do, IMO...
Exactly. That's pretty much the same option I put together from all that.

It makes sense for there to be a benchmark, if only for storytelling purposes.
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Old December 10 2009, 02:36 PM   #10
The Castellan
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

Lazarus wrote: View Post
The Castellan wrote: View Post
I think warp drive being a requirement is a crock of BS. Is the Federation going to have them on a leash like the 22nd century Vulcans did with Earth?

It's like someone saying to someone else, "Sorry, but you're not welcome to this party, since you either don't have a fancy degree or make $100,000 a year."
Or like not handing over car keys to twelve year old boys! Oh wait...
Might be an improvement, seeing how alot of the middle-aged drivers here in Southeast Michigan are like.
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Old December 10 2009, 03:05 PM   #11
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

Timo wrote: View Post
purchasing goods from gww.amazon.ufp.
They have good deals on Self-Sealing-Stem-Bolts.
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Old December 10 2009, 07:45 PM   #12
Yug
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

Timo wrote: View Post
... the warp drive thing (which BTW is never mentioned onscreen)...
It has been mentioned on screen, most notably in the TNG episode "First Contact" (also not the movie). In fact the entire episode takes a decent look at the first contact protocals in Starfleet including warp drive capable civilizations. And seemed also to be the policy of the Vulcans as seen in Star Trek: First Contact (yes, the movie) as it's Cochrane's warp drive test of the Pheonix that raises the attention of a nearby Vulcan ship in the area at that time in Trek history.
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Old December 11 2009, 02:36 PM   #13
Timo
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

Well, the exact wording is this:

Picard: "We've been monitoring your progress toward warp-drive capability. When a society reaches your level of technology and is clearly about to initiate warp travel, we feel the time is right for first contact. We prefer meeting like this, rather than a random confrontation in deep space."
It's a bit more vague than "you must have warp drive or we won't talk". Indeed, it seems to support the idea that the time of contact comes when it comes, that the UFP only makes itself known when it's inevitable that it will be revealed anyway within a few months or years.Development of warp drive is one of the things that can make the revelation inevitable. But there could be other things - and there must be, because Kirk was often openly contacting planets that had no technology to speak of.

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Old December 11 2009, 05:15 PM   #14
Yug
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

Timo wrote: View Post
Well, the exact wording is this:

Picard: "We've been monitoring your progress toward warp-drive capability. When a society reaches your level of technology and is clearly about to initiate warp travel, we feel the time is right for first contact. We prefer meeting like this, rather than a random confrontation in deep space."
It's a bit more vague than "you must have warp drive or we won't talk". Indeed, it seems to support the idea that the time of contact comes when it comes, that the UFP only makes itself known when it's inevitable that it will be revealed anyway within a few months or years.Development of warp drive is one of the things that can make the revelation inevitable. But there could be other things - and there must be, because Kirk was often openly contacting planets that had no technology to speak of.

Timo Saloniemi
Well, I wouldn't say it's all that vague, seems rather cut and dry what the policy is Starfleet and the Federation adheres to regarding civilizations on the cusp of deep space exploration. Although, I don't think it's a matter of "we won't talk".

But you're right, it is a case by case basis. There would be plenty of other factors that would constitute first contact... but they seem mostly by happenstance in that degree. And the Prime Directive often kicks in at that point. It's also why Starfleet would never hand over warp drive tech to an already aware and friendly intellegent race that may not, on their own, develop such a concept for several hundred years. In order to not interfere with their development since it could result in dangerous consequences not only for Starfleet but the burgeoning culture itself. But like any blanket policy it's far less perfect in practice. Warp drive capability is, in my mind, an almost singular reason why Starfleet would purposely seek out that culture to 'specifically' let their existance be known and introduce themselves as part of a greater galactic community.
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Old December 12 2009, 03:19 AM   #15
T'Girl
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Re: Warp drive and first contact (not the movie)

How does an aquatic species develop a warp drive? And if a warp drive is the prime benchmark, well can anyone say that first contacting the Klingons is a fine idea based solely upon their propulsion system? A new species readiness to be contacted should be a matter of cultural maturity and philosophical mindset, these new people could be living in a European renaissance or a Song Dynasty era and be ready for the opportunities for intellectual exchange and perhaps (careful) interstellar trade as well.

Another immature culture could have a brand new warp drive (maybe warp two) and not be a good candidate for any form of contact. If they live in a section of the galaxy with no nearby inhabited systems, the Federation might wait as long as possible to finally initiate first contact. Starfleet could covertly sabatoge a new cultures warp drive program. Remotely prevent a warp field from forming around a experimental ship, hack into computers and steer scientists down reasonable blind alleys. If a drone is used for the first warp flight, it could simply be "disappeared."
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